Foundation Formed to Address Tuna Threat

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation is a new nonprofit organization developed to respond to the growing threats to global tuna populations.

McLEAN, Va. — The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation is a new nonprofit organization developed to respond to the growing threats to global tuna populations.

“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 ISSF President Susan Jackson, in a statement. “This includes working towards the reduction of by-catch and helping to fund scientific research that supports improved management of tuna stocks.”

ISSF founders include Bolton Alimentari, Bumble Bee Foods/Clover Leaf Seafoods, MW Brands, Princes Ltd., Sea Value Co., StarKist Co., Chicken of the Sea and the World Wildlife Fund.

ISSF has adopted conservation measures to refrain from using tuna from any boat listed by a regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO) as being engaged in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, and refrain from using eastern Pacific bigeye tuna after Sept. 1, 2009. Its members have committed to sharing relevant catch or purchase data with RFMOs to help ensure that scientific recommendations are made based on the best available information.

While the ISSF’s founding seafood companies do not deal in the bluefin segment of the industry, 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.

ISSF initiatives will be based on recommendations from the independent ISSF Science Committee, chaired by Dr. James Joseph, 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.

“While tuna RFMOs are designed to make sound management decisions based on good science, their procedures too often allow short-term economic and political interests of some member nations to trump the science that supports greater long-term economic returns,” said William Fox, ISSF board vice chairman and the WWF’s vice president and managing director for fisheries, in a statement. “Consequently, a number of the world’s tuna stocks are being overfished and those that are not now in an overfished state may soon be in that condition.”

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