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Researcher leads fishery workshop following latest cruise of ISSF Bycatch Project

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -— The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) continued its series of global workshops on bycatch in tuna fisheries, with a discussion in American Samoa this week led by University of Hawaii researcher David Itano, who recently returned to port after conducting at-sea bycatch reduction trials onboard a fishing vessel in the Pacific.

“Spending time working side-by-side with a dedicated fishing crew provides us with an invaluable opportunity to determine how practical and effective our ideas are or could be,” David Itano said. “The more time we spend interacting with the people that know fishing better than anyone else, the better chance we have to identify real-world, lasting solutions to mitigate bycatch in purse seine tuna fisheries.”

While onboard the Cape Finisterre, a purse seine tuna fishing vessel operating in the western Pacific, Itano and a team of researchers worked on a range of experiments and investigations that examined the natural behavior of tuna, sharks and other fishes that are attracted to floating objects like FADs. They also examined how these species are impacted by fishing as well as better ways to estimate target and non-target catches. The team tested ways to release non-target catch from the net and monitored the post-release condition and survival of sharks and other species.

During the workshop, Jefferson Murua, a scientist with Spain-based AZTI-Tecnalia, joined Itano in a two-way conversation with the skippers and fishermen who have experience fishing around floating objects called fish aggregating devices, or FADs. The session centered on short-term actions that skippers should implement now, as well as insight into longer-term research efforts on how to achieve more sustainable fisheries.

These workshops are held throughout the world as a part of ISSF’s #BycatchProject, a science-based effort to discuss new techniques and uses of technology to reduce the environmental impact of fishing on tuna stocks and the greater marine environment. Since the workshops began in 2010, hundreds of members of the fishing industry have attended sessions held in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands region.

(Source: ISSF media release)

About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting Sourceecosystem health. To learn more, visit their website at