What is the ISSF?
Millions and millions of people rely on tuna for consumption (whether it is canned tuna, sushi or fresh tuna) or their economic livelihood. This has obviously put major pressure on worldwide tuna stocks. The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) was established in 2008 with a mandate to undertake initiatives for the conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reduce bycatch and promote ecosystem health. The organization consists of members of the tuna industry, conservation groups and scientists with a goal of promoting sustainable tuna fishing worldwide. The ISSF provides regional fisheries management organizations with scientific recommendations that help promote tuna fishing practices that keep oceans (and tuna stocks such as skipjack tuna, albacore tuna, and yellowfin tuna) productive and healthy. In addition the ISSF helps nations combat and monitor illegal and unregulated fishing, a global problem that can damage marine ecosystems and endanger future fish stocks.
The ISSF has the view that many of the current methods for catching tuna are not ecologically sustainable and that scientific fact finding should be used to identify sustainable solutions. They choose to take an approach that works for all stakeholders and to compel governments and industry to support their scientific methods for improving the tuna fishery and promoting long-term sustainable tuna fishing. Some of the key ISSF principles for the conservation of tuna stocks, a sustainable tuna fishery and ocean ecosystem health are outlined below:
- work with regional fisheries management organizations to help conserve tuna stocks and ocean ecosystems
- use science to attain maximum sustainable yields of targeted tuna fish
- work to eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported tuna fishing
- protection of all marine species by minimizing bycatch and discards
- collect and exchange data to promote better scientific understanding of tuna stocks
Hopefully these measures will help to increase sustainable tuna fishing practices and ensure a healthy supply of skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, albacore tuna and other tuna species for many years to come.