- Management of highly migratory species, such as Pacific bluefin tuna, is complicated because they migrate thousands of miles across oceans and international borders and are fished by many nations.
- Effective conservation and management of these resources requires international cooperation as well as strong domestic management. The United States continues to encourage harvest levels internationally that end overfishing and rebuild the population.
- Two international organizations, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), manage this fishery internationally. Working with the U.S. Department of State, NOAA Fisheries domestically implements the IATTC and WCPFC conservation and management measures.
- NOAA Fisheries, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council manage this fishery on the West Coast and in the Pacific Islands.
- Managed under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species and the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific:
- NOAA Fisheries works with the councils to provide recommendations to the Commissions and implement domestic regulations under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).
- The councils provide advice to NOAA Fisheries and the Department of State, so that the councils’ interests are represented in international negotiations.
- Councils will also develop recommendations for domestic regulations to address the relative impact on the stock by U.S. vessels.
- In 2000, the United States established the Dolphin-safe Tuna Tracking and Verification Program to monitor domestic cannery production and importation of all frozen and processed tuna products nationwide, and to authenticate any associated dolphin-safe claim.