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ISSF Denies Firm Commitment To MSC Tuna By 2017

ISSF has denied that the US Big three tuna brands have committed to only sourcing tuna which gained certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Yesterday, stated that an ISSF objective was for its members (including the Big three) to reach this status for their tuna products by 2017.

After’s article yesterday that Wal-Mart is making decisions on whether to drop its commitment to only sell MSC certified Alaska salmon and other wild seafood in its stores, or stick to its original pledge, Wal-Mart contacted ISSF to understand whether the MSC commitments reported were correct.

In its five year strategic plan, launched this year, ISSF states in its objectives that by 2017 it will: “Improve the sustainability of global tuna stocks by developing and implementing verifiable, science-based practices, commitments and international management measures that result in tuna fisheries meeting the MSC certification standard without conditions, and becoming the industry standard for vessel owners, traders, processors and marketers.”

From this objective it was understood that the US Big three tuna brands would be included in these efforts as ISSF members.

Mike Crispino, vice president of Communications of ISSF informed yesterday: “The brands haven’t committed to sourcing only MSC by 2017 through ISSF. Although ISSF has committed to working to improve the PIs that are below 80, that’s a core part of what we’ll be doing over the next several years.”

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is the United States industry trade group representing the seafood industry. The US Big three tuna brands are represented by this coalition. Earlier this week, NFI president John Connelly said that NFI is now urging congress to require NOAA to manage the nation’s fisheries, with an eradication of any third party certifications (such MSC) and eco-labels for sustainability.

As recently as May this year, Bumble Bee tuna, one of the US Big three, announced the start of a ‘Wild Selections’ brand, with a wild seafood range that is MSC certified.