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The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation Sea Turtle Committee-Advised Fund

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) was founded in 2008 in response to the need for a series of improvements to ensure the sustainability of tuna fisheries. These highly migratory stocks of fish swim through the waters of many nations and require international cooperation within industry and governments. Along with tuna conservation, this coalition of scientists, leaders in industry and environmental champions has also committed to protecting the entire marine ecosystem.

A core value of ISSF is to collaborate and support existing solutions that have been proven to work, which is why the organization has joined together with The Ocean Foundation to form the ISSF Sea Turtle Committee-Advised Fund.  

This fund supports grassroots, science-based sea turtle conservation programs in key areas throughout the world in countries such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea and Peru. Through the engagement of local communities- landowners, poachers, fishermen and others- for the long-term protection of sea turtles in their waters and beaches, this fund emphasizes the critical need for social change for the recovery of a species.

Projects selected by the ISSF Sea Turtle Fund work to protect critical nesting sites for endangered western Pacific leatherbacks in Papua New Guinea, recover foraging and nesting populations of the critically endangered eastern Pacific hawksbill, and reduce bycatch of turtles in Peru by working with local community fishermen to employ high tech solutions.

Highlight: Peru ProDelphinus - Using radio technology and local fishermen to support sea turtle conservation

In 2010 the ISSF Sea Turtle Fund supported ProDelphinus' efforts to mitigate and reduce sea turtle bycatch along the west coast of South America, by using high frequency radio to communicate with fishermen at sea on how to safely release sea turtles entangled in fishing gear. Under the project, ProDelphinus also initiated a program of distributing net cutting devices to fishermen to release leatherback sea turtles entangled in their fishing nets. Over the course of the year-long project, ProDelphinus worked with fishermen on 300 fishing vessels from ports extending over a distance of more than 2,500 km from Ecuador to Chile, engaging them in conservation efforts and saving the lives of more than 1,500 captured sea turtles.

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