Seafood sustainability has become an increasing concern as of late, with restaurants and distributors scrambling to prove that they don’t mess with endangered fish like mahi mahi, Atlantic cod, king crab, and red snapper.
Now tuna is getting its turn. A group of manufacturers including Bumble Bee Foods, Chicken of the Sea Intl., Bolton Alimentari, MW Brands, and StarKist Co. has joined up with the World Wildlife Foundation to launch the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation. The title is something of a misnomer, as the ISSF only addresses tuna sustainability.
Thus far, ISSF member companies have agreed to refrain from using eastern Pacific bigeye tuna (an overexploited species) after Sept. 1 2009, and have vowed to avoid tuna caught by boats involved in illegal or unregulated activity. ISSF members have also committed to sharing catch and purchase data with regional fishery management organizations in order to prevent overfishing. Other endangered species that the ISSF will likely keep an eye on include bluefin, albacore, and yellowfin tuna.
The ISSF isn’t the first seafood sustainability foundation–existing organizations include Seafood Choices Alliance and the Marine Stewardship Council. And while the foundation is admittedly an exercise in self-interest–after all, Bumble Bee and StarKist rely on a steady supply of tuna–it has enough firepower in its member companies to enact real change.