Are Commercial Fishing Practices Sustainable?

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What Is Commercial Fishing?

Commercial fishing is the harvesting of fish or any type of seafood that is sold for commercial profit. Commercial fishing practices have a huge impact on the overall sustainability of the seafood industry as well as the overall health of the world’s oceans. Everyone agrees on the need for sustainable fishing practices to be developed and adopted for commercial fishing if the ocean is to continue to be a reliable food source (National Geographic, 2014).
So can commercial fishing practices be sustainable? Consumers and environmentalists may feel like commercial fishing practices are not concerned about the long-term health of fish stocks, but this is not the case. In order to ensure the stocks of tuna and other seafood remain strong for the future, commercial seafood manufacturers such as Clover Leaf (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014a) are making substantial efforts to implement sustainable fishing practices.

Sustainable Commercial Tuna Fishing

Commercial tuna manufacturers are continuously faced with the challenge of meeting global demand for tuna while also taking the steps necessary to ensure overfishing is not taking place, and bycatch instances are being reduced. Sustainable commercial tuna fishing is possible when the following things are taken into account (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014b):
  • The method that is used to catch the fish (includes when and where the fishing takes place and what gear is used).
  • The current status of the tuna in the ocean where fishing is occurring.
  • The maximum sustainable yield of the specific tuna stock.
  • All catch data is submitted to the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). RFMOs use this data to monitor, manage, and conserve fish stocks within their jurisdictions (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2011).
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) works with RMFOs to conserve oceanic ecosystems and to develop truly sustainable global tuna stocks (ISSF, 2014). The ISSF is a global organization composed of leading scientists, members of the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, who are all focused on promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term health of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch, and promoting ecosystem health.

Clover Leaf and Sustainable Tuna Fishing

Clover Leaf is a founding member of the ISSF and continues to be involved in improving the sustainability of commercial tuna fishing through its commitment to the ISSF.
In the event that the ISSF and RFMO determine that a particular fishery is participating in overfishing, and the fishery is overfished, and management actions are not in place to return the fishery to a sustainable state, Clover Leaf has a strict policy in place to stop sourcing from that fishery (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014c). However, instead of abandoning these fisheries in their state of unsustainability, Clover Leaf will work with them to put the proper management actions in place to return the fishery to a sustainable state.
The ISSF has also undertaken efforts to significantly reduce bycatch in general, but in particular on FADs (fish aggregating devices) with the Bycatch Project (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014d). Findings from this project have already been implemented, for example, in the form of non-entangling nets for FAD fishing operations.
Clover Leaf and the ISSF are dedicated to improving the overall sustainability of commercial fishing practices to ensure that tuna stocks remain healthy for future generations. 

Works Cited

Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2011, September 3). Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada:

ISSF. (2014). Our Story. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from International Seafood Sustainability Foundation:

National Geographic. (2014). Sustainable Fishing. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from National Geographic - Education:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014a). FAQ - What steps is Clover Leaf taking to ensure sustainability in areas other than fishing? Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014b). FAQ - What does 'sustainable seafood' mean? Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014c). Sustaining Fisheries. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014d). FAQ - How much bycatch is caught using FADs. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

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