Tuna fishing is one of the world’s few remaining large-scale hunts. The main species – skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore – are integral to the greater marine ecosystem, support the diet of millions and, as a commodity, tunas are fundamental to the global economy.
In 2008, acclaimed scientists, leaders in industry and WWF, founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) based on shared concerns about the future of tuna fisheries and a desire to do something about it – together. The global coalition launched publically in March of 2009 and today has partners and supporters working in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia.
A diverse Board of Directors sets the agenda with the counsel of an independent Scientific Advisory Committee, an Environmental Stakeholder Committee, a Bycatch Project Scientific Steering Committee, a Vessel Committee and staff.
ISSF’s actions reflect the principles of governance that defines its mission to undertake science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health:
- Work with RFMOs to achieve their objectives of conservation of tuna stocks and their ecosystems;
- Employ sound science for attaining maximum sustainable yields of targeted tuna stocks;
- Strive to eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) tuna catching;
- Provide for the health and care of the marine ecosystem;
- Facilitate use of the precautionary approach;
- Minimize bycatch, discards, and abandoned gear;
- Collect and exchange data to promote better scientific understanding of tuna stocks;
- Support certification programs that meet the 2005 eco-labeling guidelines of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
ISSF stands for scientific fact-finding to identify best practices and ecologically sustainable solutions, using direct action to compel governments and industry leaders to support that scientific reasoning while advocating for continued improvement in all tuna fisheries. We believe that it is imperative to take a evidence-based approach that puts the focus on the fishery pushing governments and industry to favor more responsible, sustainable practices on the water.
When science leads, sustainability follows.