The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the world’s largest tuna conservation coalition, recently passed a comprehensive resolution that will prohibit its members from supporting the shark finning industry.
On Tuesday, the ISSF Board of Directors passed a resolution that will require its members to adopt written policies that prohibit the practice of shark finning and refrain from transactions with fishing vessels that engage in the practice.
Shark finning is a controversial practice whereby sharks are separated from their fins while still alive and then tossed back into the sea to die. Harvesting the fins, which are a delicacy in Asian cultures, is directly responsible for 73 million shark deaths every year.
The resolution, which will go into effect on June 1, 2012, is intended to urge ISSF members to strengthen their management of sharks caught in association with tuna fisheries by prohibiting shark finning and adopting the mandatory reporting of shark catches by species.
And by September 2012, processors, traders, importers, transporters and others involved in the seafood industry will be required to refrain from transactions with vessels that carry out shark finning or with vessel owning companies that do not have a public policy prohibiting shark finning.
“There is no room for shark finning in a sustainable tuna fishery,” said Susan Jackson, President of ISSF. “We’re calling on the tuna industry as a whole to prohibit this practice while we work with RFMO member nations to strengthen management and enforcement measures and for national governments to follow through with implementation.”
The ISSF’s resolution helps to reinforce the U.S. states and other nations that have already taken a stand against shark finning. In October 2011, the state of California joined Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Toronto and Guam by enacting a law against the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins.
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