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ISSF, Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna to Promote Sustainable Tuna Fisheries

30 August 2016

US - The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (PAST) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a framework for promoting the sustainability of tuna fisheries as well as ecologically healthy and productive marine ecosystems in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO).

ISSF and PAST share the goals of conservation and sustainable use of tuna and other marine resources in the EPO; believe in science-based fisheries practice and the importance of continuous improvement in fisheries operations; and agree that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) principles provide a strong, measurable sustainability standard for global tuna fisheries.

In addition, both organisations recognize the important role of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in assessing and managing tuna populations and other key species in the EPO.

ISSF’s goal is to improve the sustainability of global tuna stocks by developing and implementing verifiable, science-based practices, commitments and international management measures that result in all tuna fisheries becoming capable of achieving MSC certification without conditions.

PAST members believe in the critical importance of protecting tuna stocks and ocean ecosystems and are committed to science-based best practices and to continuing their history of investments in sustainability, which includes withdrawing from fishing Pacific bluefin tuna for 5 years and seeking certification to the MSC standard, among other commitments.

“PAST and ISSF collaborated on a series of ISSF skippers’ workshops in Mexico in 2015, reaching 160 skippers and crew members in our efforts to share best practices on sustainable tuna fishing and toward fisher-scientist knowledge exchange that informs ISSF’s research priorities,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.

“PAST members also participated in our 2012 ‘Workshop on Rights Based Management, Capacity and Buybacks in the EPO.’ We look forward to expanding on such collaboration, as we formalise a longer-term relationship toward promoting sustainable tuna fisheries in the EPO.”

“ISSF research and outreach have been an important part of the industry’s rigorous capacity building programs, and we are pleased to expand our relationship with ISSF to, together, advance conservation in the Eastern Pacific Ocean,” added Mariana Ramos, Executive Director, Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna.

The ISSF-PAST MOU facilitates cooperation on a number of science-based priorities and projects, including:

  • Improved electronic reporting and electronic monitoring, including for purse seine vessels as well as other fisheries such as longline
  • Binding implementation of improved harvest strategies by the IATTC for EPO tropical tunas
  • Capacity management for the EPO purse seine fisheries; PAST and ISSF will explore mechanisms for managing fishing capacity to ensure sustainable harvests
  • Complementary tools for highlighting the best practices of purse seine vessels owned by PAST members, via the listing of vessels on the ISSF ProActive Vessel Register (PVR), for example

The agreement between PAST and ISSF is a non-exclusive agreement; both organisations will continue to work independently and with other organizations on the same issues. Implementation of the MOU will be overseen by Susan Jackson, President of ISSF, and Mariana Ramos, the Executive Director of PAST.

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