ISSF appoints Thai Union executive as new board chair
Kevin Bixler, who serves as the global director of group fish procurement for Thai Union Group, has joined the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) as its new board of directors’ chair.
Bixler takes over the role from Bolton Food Director of Sustainable Development Luciano Pirovano, ISSF said. In addition to Bixler’s appointment, ISSF announced that William Gibbons-Fly, the former U.S. Department of State acting deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries, has also joined its board, which is comprised of “a diverse and global group of leaders from non-governmental organizations, marine science, government agencies, and the seafood industry.”
Thai Union has been participating in ISSF since its inception, Bixler noted in a press release. As such, his new role with the foundation has deep resonance, he said.
“As a founding ISSF participating company, Thai Union has been a supporter of the ISSF mission since day one,” Bixler said. “I am proud to take on this role and join an impressive group of sustainability leaders to ensure continued progress towards the long-term sustainability of tuna fisheries. I look forward to working with some of the best minds in the tuna conservation space.”
ISSF President Susan Jackson expressed admiration and gratitude to the departing Pirovano for his service to the organization, including through the great difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to extend our deepest gratitude to Luciano Pirovano for his service as board chair. During his tenure, ISSF adopted some of our most notable conservation measures, reaching a total of 30 measures in effect today; led non-entangling and biodegradable FAD research; and created key sustainability resources, including the Vessels in Other Sustainability Initiatives (VOSI) vessel list. Luciano also guided us through an especially challenging time as we faced the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will always be grateful,” Jackson said.
Both Pirovano and Jackson are enthusiastic about the future for ISSF with Bixler at the board’s helm.
“Luciano and I are excited to pass the board chair torch to Thai Union’s Kevin Bixler, who has deep experience at the crossroads of commercial fishing and sustainability. Kevin will bring new perspectives with an excellent track record on the issues we care about. I look forward to his leadership,” Jackson said.
Bixler and Gibbons-Fly join the following other members of the ISSF board:
- Transform Aqorau, Pacific fisheries expert and former CEO, Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA)
- John Connelly, president, National Fisheries Institute
- Rohan Currey, chief science and standards officer, Marine Stewardship Council
- Giuseppe Di Carlo, lead conservationist, WWF-International
- Javier Garat, secretary general, Cepesca
- Bill Holden, board chair, ISSF environmental stakeholder committee, senior tuna fisheries outreach manager, Marine Stewardship Council
- Susan Jackson, president, ISSF
- Ichiro Nomura, fisheries policy advisor, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia
- Victor Restrepo, vice president, science, ISSF
- Martin Tsamenyi, professor of law and former director of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, Australia
Photo courtesy of Thai Union