Our principles regarding protecting marine ecosystem health are based on the code of conduct for responsible fishing issued by FAO and on indications provided by International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), of which we are founding members. They are an integral part of our corporate identity, they represent what we believe in and they drive our initiatives targeted at responsibility.

  • 1992 Endorsement of the Dolphin Safe program.
  • 2009 Founding of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).
  • 2010 Obtainment of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the Quimper plant (France).
  • 2011 Adoption of the Tuna Supply Policy code of conduct and endorsement of the same by our suppliers.
  • 2012 Launch of a range of tuna caught with the Pole & Line method.
  • 2015 Obtainment of ISO 22005 certification for our traceability system for the tuna supply chain.
  • 2016 Obtainment of MSC certification for the Solomon Islands fishery.
  • 2016 Launch of a transformational partnership with WWF Italy and WWF International for sustainable seafood supplying.

Our 6 guiding principles


We maintain that our commitment to sustainability should be driven by a global scientific and systematic approach. This explains why Rio Mare is a founder and active member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).

Improvement of the supply chain

The goal of ISSF is to contribute to the transformation of tuna fishing grounds throughout the world into sustainable ones, thus complying with FAO guidelines for responsible fishing. All ISSF initiatives are documented in the ISSF Annual Report.

Non sostenibile > Sostenibile
ISSF - International Seafood Sustainability Foundation
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) was formed in 2009 as a global, non-profit organization whose members and partners include WWF International, several of the world?s most eminent scientists and biologists and more than 70% of the leading companies in the tuna canning industry. Its foundation was promoted by Rio Mare, which is still an active member. ISSF's objective is to guarantee the sustainable use of tuna stocks, minimize bycatch and promote marine ecosystem health. ISSF adopts a global scientific and systematic approach and implements initiatives that override the economic and political interests of individual countries.

Balance in tuna fishing

We diversify tuna fishing methods

For some time now, in order to better balance environmental, social and economic sustainability, we have implemented a diversification policy regarding the fishing methods used. In order to achieve this, we carefully assess various factors, including, for example, the environmental impact generated by the fuels consumed for each ton fished, the risk of bycatch of other marine species, the working conditions of fishermen, safe sanitation and food hygiene and the marketing of an affordable, high-quality product. This explains why our tuna comes from Purse Seiners, using FAD or Free Schools or Pole & Line. In 2012, we launched our first line of Pole & Line sourced tuna, currently marketed in various countries; since 2013, our sourcing policy has also included the purchase of tuna from a certified MSC supply chain. In 2016, we launched a new line of FAD-free sourced tuna.

Purse Seine fishing

A fishing method involving the use of large fishing boats, capable of staying at sea for several weeks. Once a tuna school has been sighted, a small boat, known as a skiff to which a large nylon net is attached, is lowered into the sea. The fishing boat makes a circular manoeuvre to join the two ends of the net and draws it tight at the bottom to form a purse, referred to as a seine. The tuna caught is immediately frozen in freezers.


The entire operation takes place on a single vessel, in a relatively short time (about 2 hours), guaranteeing traceability and hygiene, and preventing sanitation risks for the catch; it also guarantees a lower environmental impact of the vessels due to reduced fuel consumption per ton of fish caught.


This selection amongst the various species caught in the net is more difficult with this fishing method. The bycatch rate is estimated at around 5%, almost none of which for species at risk of extinction. (Source: ISSF).


A fishing method practiced just a short distance from the coastline. The fishermen throw small bait into the water to attract the tuna; with the help of water sprayed with pressure hoses, small swirls which disorientate the fish are created. When the tuna are in a feeding frenzy, the fishermen use their poles with lines and special hooks to bait them. Once hooked, the tuna are hauled onboard and rapidly preserved in ice or frozen.


A low risk of bycatch.


Use of live bait like sardines and other small local fish, involving the risk of impacts on their stocks if not correctly handled; increased environmental impact of fishing vessels due to the high consumption of fuel per ton of fish caught; lastly, this method requires improved monitoring of all aspects involving hygiene and sanitation linked to the cold chain, not to mention increased physical hardship for the fishermen involved.

Fishing Aggregating Devices are rafts or buoys with transceivers that are deployed in the ocean prior to fishing, in order to recreate conditions capable of attracting schools underneath them and thus make fishing more efficient. This technique was discovered by fishermen who observed what happens in nature when tree trunks or other floating objects are found in the sea. Starting from the 1990s, FAD use has increased considerably. One of the main problems involves the unintentional capture of other marine species that either gather under the FAD or risk becoming entangled. To reduce this phenomenon, ISSF has conducted countless studies in the past few years to optimize their design, improving handling and use and limiting environmental impact through the use of biodegradable materials (ECO FAD).

We diversify
the tuna species caught

To protect the balance of the marine ecosystem we have implemented a diversification policy regarding tuna species. Furthermore, we have committed not to use species declared at risk of extinction, such as red tuna (Thunnus thynnus).

Specie di tonno pescate Specie di tonno pescate


  • 2014 38%
  • 2015 37%
  • 2016 39%


  • 62%
  • 63%
  • 61%
Source: internal data

We diversify
fishing areas

In full respect of sustainability, our purchasing policy complies with the recommendations emerging from the latest mapping of the state of health of tuna stocks issued periodically by the ISSF. Additionally, all fleets supplying us with the raw material respect the "closed-to-fishing" periods indicated by the Regional Organizations for Tuna Fishing Management (RFMO), in order to guarantee that tuna schools have adequate time to reproduce and repopulate.


Sustainable fishing is based on a series of good practices that protect the species and encourage traceability and transparency across the supply chain. With this awareness, we are commited to adopting them regularly thanks to our Tuna Supply Policy which is endorsed by our tuna suppliers.

Dolphin Safe

98% Reduction of dolphin mortality thanks to endorsement of the Dolphin Safe program


ProActive Vessel Register (PVR) is a register instituted by ISSF to identify and trace, both transparently and publicly, vessels adopting the practices identified by the ISSF for sustainable tuna fishing.

limitation of
fishing capacity

The All scientists agree when defining the limitation of fishing capacity as a fundamental element for stock sustainability. For this reason we support ISSF's resolution targeted at establishing a limited and controlled number of vessels certified to perform tuna fishing from which sourcing is permitted.

Against illegal

To combat the phenomenon of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, we guarantee complete traceability of our product. We do not make purchases from vessels registered by the EU in the IUU List, preferring rather to source tuna from vessels regularly registered with the RFMOs. These must have a UVI (Unique Vessel Identification) code issued by the IMO (International Maritime Organization), guaranteeing reliable, proven and permanent identification, regardless of changes of ownership or name. Furthermore, if not specifically authorized by the RFMO and controlled by onboard observers, we do not purchase tuna transhipped at sea.

To reduce

We endorse the Dolphin Safe program and we comply with the ISSF resolution which requires to conduct transactions only with those suppliers which use non-entangling FADs.

Traceability of
our fish

Traceability is essential to guarantee the protection of the marine ecosystem, being one of the main principles in the fight against illegal fishing and the sustainable management of fishing grounds. In 2015, we were the first Italian company and one of the first in the world in the canned tuna sector to obtain the international certification ISO 22005 (Food Safety Management System). ISO 22005 certifies our traceability system, a tool we use to monitor the complex supply chain of tuna.

marine reserves

To safeguard the ecosystem we do not use fish from protected areas or marine reserves identified by Coastal States and RFMOs, including the four marine reserves in the Central West Pacific, established by the Nauru (PNA) agreement of 2010. Furthermore, we support the creation of marine reserves to protect biodiversity and the wealth of marine species.

Register of
authorized vessels

100% of all the tuna used by our company was sourced from vessels registered in the PVR. The ProActive Vessel Register (PVR), is a register instituted by ISSF to identify and trace vessels which adopt the practices for sustainable tuna fishing.

Supporting supply

In accordance with the stance taken by ISSF, we give our full support to the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification program. MSC certifies that a fishing area is managed sustainably, taking three aspects into consideration: the condition of fish stocks, the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystem, and the efficiency of the fish management process. In 2016, we signed a partnership agreement with WWF aimed at obtaining 100% of our tuna from MSC certified fisheries or from robust Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and this within eight years.

Marine Stewardship

Marine Stewardship Council is an international, non-profit, independent organization, one of whose founders is the WWF. MSC certification certifies that a fishing area is managed sustainably, taking three aspects into consideration: the condition of fish stocks "the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystem" the efficiency of the fish management process. The MSC standard complies with the FAO guidelines for sustainable fishing. For this very reason, ISSF's goal is to make all fishing grounds MSC certifiable.

Other fish species,
besides tuna

Mackerel, sardines and salmon are the other fish species that we use for our products. For each one of them we implement concrete actions to guarantee sustainability over the long term and across the entire supply chain.

Procurement of Mackerel and Sardines

Procurement of salmon

Approvvigionamento salmone
  • 89%

    salmon of the
    Stalmo Sallar species

  • 11%

    Wild salmon
    of the Salmone
    Rosa species

Source: internal data 2016

The next

In December 2016, we signed a new international partnership with WWF aimed at increasing the sustainability of seafood products and safeguarding sustainable seafood supplying. The partnership’s goal is to supply 100% of the company’s tuna from MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified fisheries or from robust Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) aimed at becoming eligible for MSC certification, by 2024. This partnership concerns the totality of the company’s production, all of our brands (Rio Mare, Palmera and Saupiquet), and will involve several countries.

Our commitments