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ISSF Offers RFMO’s To Host Workshop On Tuna Bycatch

During this week’s Second Joint Tuna RFMO Meeting in San Sebastian, Spain, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is offering to host a future workshop for leading scientists and tuna fisheries experts to detail the direction of a global bycatch research project.

With growing concern about the impact of tuna fishing on ocean health, ISSF is highlighting the need for a coordinated, global study examining the critical issue of bycatch.

“Much-needed research is already being conducted around the world and we are beginning to better understand the problem,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “ISSF wants to build on the momentum created by these regional projects and bring everyone together to develop a coordinated focus and path forward.”

“Bycatch issues with tuna fishing need to be addressed immediately with the identification and adoption of a globally coordinated set of current best practices,” said Dr. William Fox, WWF’s vice president and managing director of fisheries who serves as vice chair of ISSF. “But the current best practices need constant improvement so ISSF’s workshop to develop a global bycatch research project is critically needed.”

In April, the ISSF Board of Directors noted that there are large gaps in existing information from region to region and some initiatives suffer from a lack of funding and experimental design.

“Scientists are telling us there needs to be a worldwide effort to collect more data on bycatch. That information can help improve fishing methods and gear to reduce or even eliminate the amount of unintended catch. If everyone shares that goal there’s enormous value in working together to reach it,” Jackson said.