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With the participation of only 52 of the world’s 1650+ purse seine vessels, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is waiving the joining fee of its ProActive Vessel Register in an attempt to increase membership. So far less than 8% of the largest tuna purse seiners class have enlisted for the register.

The ISSF outlines that the PVR provides tuna purchasers with validated information on the positive steps each vessel is taking in implementing the sustainable fishing practices, while offering any member of the global purse seine fleet to join the list in stating its commitment to these practices.

The fleet manager of a tuna fishing company from Spain who had chosen formally not to register its vessels under the PVR said: “The waived fee has certainly pushed our decision in discussing whether to join the PVR or not. At the end of the month discussions will come to a conclusion, but we expect the final decision will be to join the register.”

“We believe it is important to follow sustainable fishing practices, and most members of the ISSF are our customers, this will provide an increased link with them.”

A large majority of the vessels currently listed as part of the PVR have links to ISSF members. Even though the members often do not own or manage any vessels themselves they have connections with fleets of other companies owned by shareholders of the same tuna brands and companies in the ISSF. Are purse seine vessels being pressured to join the PVR to prove their methods are safe and keep links with customers who are already members?

The ISSF hope that with the eradication of the membership fee to the register, companies that may not have seen the positives of joining as outweighing the cost will think again.

The fleet manager added:  “At the end of the day we need to be proving to our customers that the sustainability practices are being adhered to, and if joining the PVR helps to do this then we must take action.”

A 2012 report by the ISSF estimated the global tuna purse seiner fleet to consist out of 1664 vessels, of which 678 are qualified as being large scale boats with a tonnage higher than 335 m3. The current 52 vessels in the PVR represent therefore less than 8% of the biggest purse seiners active in the world oceans.