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Greenpeace Motivates Refusal To Participate In ISSF Committee

Text taken from Blogpost by Greenpeace International oceans campaigner based in London, Oliver Knowles
The ISSF is dominated by the tuna companies which created it, who form its current membership and in some cases help run it. This has made the ISSF resistant to the changes which Greenpeace and many scientists propose and that an increasingly large number of progressive tuna companies are now delivering.
Greenpeace fully recognizes the importance of scientific debate but the ISSF’s Environmental Stakeholder Committee is not the best place to have this discussion.

The ISSF’s pro-industry positions, including opposing a ban on destructive Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries make its stakeholder committee an unsuitable body for debating and discussing tuna fisheries science.

Unbiased science is central to managing tuna fisheries and for this reason Greenpeace is and always has been committed to discussing the latest research. For some time, we have made clear to the ISSF that we are committed to debating the science in an independent meeting consisting of the ISSF, environmental campaign groups and most importantly, independent scientists.
The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission will take place in Guam between the 26th and 30th March this year, where the future of Pacific tuna fisheries will be decided. The measures closing the ‘Pacific Commons’ marine reserve areas to tuna fishing will be revisited and will decide their future. Our team in Guam will be focusing on the work necessary to achieve the strongest possible outcomes from this meeting, including a total ban on the use of destructive and wasteful FADs in purse seine fisheries and the extension of the Pacific Commons purse seine ban to all fishing (both of which are currently opposed by the ISSF). We are confident that our time at the meeting – enabled with the funding of our supporters - will be better spent working to defend our oceans and the future of the fishing industry than attending the ISSF meeting.

Greenpeace has previously politely declined to join the ISSF’s Environmental Stakeholder Committee.

In the same blogpost Greenpeace also reacted to positive initiatives by ISSF members:
“Greenpeace is engaged in a serious dialogue with a growing number of tuna companies around the world, including many of the founding members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), and these companies are starting to deliver huge change. Many progressive companies, including some of the largest retailers and brands in the world, are now implementing well-designed and far-reaching sustainability polices which means change is taking place where it matters – out in the waters of our oceans.
John West and Princes, two of the leading tinned tuna brands in the UK (and both members of the ISSF) are an example of this. They have now committed to sourcing 100 percent pole and line or Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) free tuna by 2016 and 2014 respectively. Safeway, one of the largest retailers in the US, has just last week committed to change its own-brand tuna to sustainable sources. This tuna will be supplied by Tri Marine, a founding member of the ISSF and one of the world’s largest tuna traders. Dialogue with many others companies around the world is also progressing well.  2012 is set to be a ground shifting year for the tuna industry as more and more players adopt sustainable practices”.