Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia - This week, as the Pacific Islands region continues to work toward a more sustainable tuna industry, skippers and captains are learning about best-in-class practices to reduce fishing's footprint on the marine environment.
Scientists and fishing experts have developed a full-day session that delivers the best techniques to reduce bycatch directly to the people who run fishing operations on board purse seiners.
David Itano of the University of Hawaii and Jefferson Murua of AZTI-Tecnalia are sharing the material with fishers in Majuro in the Marshall Islands and Pohnpei, a region rich in tuna resources, which supplies some of the world's largest tuna markets.
The workshops are being supported by a donation from Simplot Australia, which produces the John West and Seakist brands of tuna products.
"We've been holding these sessions for a year now and the effort is getting more and more support from retailers, processors and vessel owners," International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) President Susan Jackson said. "This is the groundwork for transforming fisheries that could fall into real trouble down the road. If we act now, we can most certainly prevent it."
The workshops are modeled after a program that was designed and put into practice by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in the eastern Pacific Ocean. With the help of leading scientists and fishing experts, ISSF has adapted the program to be used in ocean regions around the world. Programs have been facilitated in Latin America, Africa and Europe.
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