A new professional body for the tuna industry is looking to boost sales of pole and line-caught tuna and to help fishermen market their products better.

The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) is a registered charity, which will be funded through membership fees. The organisation was set up using funds from major industry players - anonymous at this stage - and officially launched this week. It has already secured the support of Sainsbury’s, which plans to become a member, and is talking to other UK supermarkets and tuna processors to secure additional funds.

Not all pole-and-line caught tuna was currently marketed as such, meaning fishermen were missing out on higher prices, said IPNLF co-founding trustee John Burton. “We’d like to get that product to the market because there’s a big demand for it and we’d like to see the fishing communities get a better return than they currently receive,” he added.

IPNLF would also work with fishermen to address sustainability concerns, such as bait sourcing, carbon footprints and safety at sea, Burton said.

Members of IPNLF would be able to use the charity’s logo in marketing materials or on-pack to flag up their support of, he added.

The IPNLF has already established a head office in the UK, and a branch in the Maldives, and aims to open an Indonesian branch next year. In future, it also hopes to extend its reach to Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines, Senegal, India, the US, southern Europe and the island states of the Pacific.

Last month, The Grocer reported the results of a new study that found that pole and line tuna had a carbon footprint four times that of tuna caught by the more intensive purse-seine fishing method.