Global partnership to promote sustainable tuna
An international group of marine scientists, seafood industry leaders and the environmental community have joined forces to establish the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), a non-profit organization developed 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," said ISSF President Susan Jackson.ISSF will be headquartered in McLean, Va.
"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," said Jackson. "This includes working toward the reduction of bycatch and helping to fund scientific research that supports improved management of tuna stocks.
ISSF has already advanced this cause with its first board actions."
ISSF adopted conservation measures to refrain from using tuna from any boat listed by a regional fisheries management organization as being engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported (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.
Dr. James Joseph will chair the ISSF Science Committee. With more than 50 years of scholarship, administrative and policy-making experience, Dr. Joseph is considered by many to be the dean of science-based tuna conservation. The committee also includes scientists from each of the tuna RFMOs, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and the Commission of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
ISSF will work closely with the major RFMOs responsible for managing the world's tuna stocks, which have encountered challenges to maintaining tuna at healthy levels.
"Given the management problems of Atlantic bluefin, ISSF wants to ensure that effective management practices are in place to maintain the health of all the tuna stocks," said Joseph. "Stocks of skipjack, yellowfin and albacore tuna, the species most commonly processed for canned and shelf-stable tuna products, appear to be in generally good health around the world."
"Our customers in the retail and food servicetrades, our consumers who buy tuna in grocery stores and restaurants, and indeed all of society rightfully expect that the world's highly valuable stocks of tuna will be fished responsibly and sustainably," said Chris Lischewski, chairman of ISSF and president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods.
The ISSF founders are Bolton Alimentari; Bumble Bee Foods; MW Brands; Princes Ltd.; Sea Value Co. Ltd.; StarKist Co.; Thai Union Manufacturing Co. Ltd.-Chicken of the Sea International; Tri-Marine International; and World Wildlife Fund.