Tuna Companies pledge Conservation of Sea Turtles

sea-turtlesThree of the top U.S. tuna companies have pledged more than $100,000 annually to help protect sea turtles in longline tuna fisheries. These funds will be run through the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).

ISSF founding members Chicken of the Sea, StarKist and Bumble Bee are studying a variety of projects from protecting turtle nesting habitats to providing circle hooks to funding research into turtle bycatch mitigation.

“Industry must take a lead role in the stewardship of our oceans,” said Chris Lischewski, President and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods LLC who also serves as chair of ISSF.

All seven species of sea turtles are endangered or threatened throughout U.S. waters. Pollution is shrinking natural habitats while sea turtles are often accidentally ensnared in fishing nets.

“There is a science-based need to protect sea turtles,” Lischewski said. “We respect the delicate balance in marine ecosystems and part of industry’s role must be to support conservation initiatives that can help maintain that balance or rebuild where it’s been weakened.”

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation is a global partnership among scientists, the tuna industry and WWF, the global conservation organization.