Seafood Parties Form Foundation to Support Tuna

Eminent marine scientists, major figures in the non-profit environmental community, and leaders of the seafood industry announced on March 16 they have joined forces to establish the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), a non-profit organization developed to respond to the growing threats to global tuna populations.

ISSF aims to undertake science-based initiatives to support the long-term conservation and sustainable use of 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 S. Jackson.

"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 by-catch 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 (RFMO) as being engaged in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and refrain from using eastern Pacific bigeye tuna after Sept. 1, 2009, 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.

While the ISSF founding seafood companies do not deal in the bluefin segment of the industry, which primarily supplies the sashimi market, the board enacted a statement of concern urging the adoption of policies supporting proper management of bluefin in the Atlantic -- one of the most threatened of all tuna stocks.

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