ISSF testifies to House
Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is preventing the sustainable seafood movement from advancing, Susan Jackson, president of the recently formed International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), testified on Capitol Hill today.
The House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife is looking at a bill that would strengthen legislation aimed at stopping IUU fishing.
"The ISSF shares the committee's belief that catching tuna, or any seafood, by IUU practices is simply not sustainable," Jackson testified. "Sound science is the basis on which the ISSF board recently adopted its first conservation measures and issued its first statement of concern. These actions share many of the same goals that HR 1080 addresses."
The ISSF, a McLean, Va.-based nonprofit group of marine scientists, seafood industry leaders and environmentalists, was established earlier this week to respond to growing threats to global tuna stocks.
"This is an unprecedented collaborative commitment on the part of major industry players to work alongside the world's premier marine scientists and environmental non-governmental organizations, especially our founding conservation partner WWF, to preserve the world's marine ecosystem," Jackson told SeafoodSource at the International Boston Seafood Show earlier this week.
"Our mission is to help ensure that targeted tuna stocks will be sustained at or above levels of abundance capable of supporting maximum sustainable yield," she said. "This includes working toward the reduction of bycatch and helping to fund scientific research that supports improved management of tuna stocks."
ISSF adopted conservation measures to refrain from using tuna from any boat listed by a regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) as being engaged in IUU fishing and refrain from using eastern Pacific bigeye tuna after 1 September, unless the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission enacts science-based conservation measures before then.
ISSF participants also committed to sharing relevant catch or purchase data with responsible RFMOs to help ensure that scientific recommendations are made based on the best available information.
After Jackson's testimony, subcommittee chairwoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said, "I'm pleased to see global, broad-based collaborative groups like ISSF working to address the IUU fishing problem."