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Marine Conservation Coalition Sets Deadlines

Marine Conservation Coalition Sets Deadlines, Commits to Projects to Improve Practices in Tuna Fisheries

WASHINGTON, DC – 1 July 2011 – Today the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) launched the Make the Commitment project, the next phase of its strategic effort to transform tuna fisheries. The global improvement plan addresses the sustainability of the three most common methods of tuna fishing: purse seine, longline, and pole & line.

“Advocacy alone is insufficient, research alone is insufficient and it is not enough to simply educate,” said Susan Jackson, President of ISSF. “In order to improve the sustainability of tuna stocks, there must be a combination of these efforts working in tandem, with the same goal.“

The Make the Commitment project, a Global Improvement Plan for Better Practices in Tuna Fisheries, recognizes that rather than abandoning fisheries with flaws, stakeholders should work to facilitate advancements. ISSF is calling on fishers, processors, governments and conservationists to put their strengths to work for the most commonly fished tuna species – skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, and albacore.

“Purse seine fisheries are where our partners can have a real impact, and fast. Most of the catch supplies the processed market and there are relatively few large-scale vessels, so our efforts can be focused and effective. Participating Companies have already pledged to begin working with their suppliers to meet the deadlines in this plan, which will reduce environmental impact and build capacity for long-term programs simultaneously.”

The complete Global Improvement Plan is now available for download. Specific tactics include:
• across-the-board retention of bycatch in order to improve data and eliminate waste;
• 100 percent observer coverage (human or electronic) onboard vessels in order to ensure best practices and responsible fishing;
• work to foster the creation of markets for bycatch;
• mandates on longline fisheries to institute best practices in mitigating bird bycatch, improved hook technology and turtle release education; and
• the development of management programs for baitfish fisheries for pole and line baitfish.
As part of its commitment, ISSF will build an online database of vessels adopting best-in-class practices, develop training courses for observers and skippers and lead the creation of a universal global vessel monitoring system.

In 2010, ISSF released its Strategic Plan with three distinct lines of approach for conservation and sustainability of tuna stocks – applied science, advocacy and direct market action. These approaches are applied to six areas of focused effort – managing fishing capacity, mitigating bycatch, eradicating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, expanding data support, advancing industry performance through monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) and improving overall tuna stock health.

About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health. To learn more, visit their website at iss-foundation.org

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