Greenpeace activists arrested in campaign to confront supermarkets

Feature story - May 25, 2009
Greenpeace has begun a confrontation campaign to convince Canada’s major supermarket chains to stop selling Redlist species—seafood that is the most threatened by overharvesting. The key activity on the first day of the campaign (Monday May 26, 2009) was an action in Victoria in which four activists were arrested.

Four activists inside a Victoria supermarket.


Safeway action in Victoria

The Victoria action involved Greenpeace activists preventing the sale of Redlist species in a Safeway store on Foul Bay road.

The activists targeted Redlist species by chaining freezer doors shut and locking up seafood in shoppingcarts so it couldn't be sold.

They filled a grocery cart with canned Redlist fish, chained and locked the handles of a seafood freezerand then locked the cart to the handles. Yellow caution tape reading "Oceans Crime Scene" was strung across the fresh seafood counter and around the cart.

The activists - one man and three women all in their 20s - also held banners and handed out pamphletsabout the campaign.

After they refused to leave, the Victoria Police Department was called. Four officers arrived. Twofemale activists had to be carried out by police, while the other two walked out. All four are facing trespassing charges.

Outside the store, more activists - including two in fish costumes - distributed

information leaflets to customers and raised two banners reading "Safeway: The
Way to Extinction” and “Don’t Buy, Don’t Sell Redlist Fish

North Bay action

In North Bay, Greenpeace activists set up a fish skeleton outside an A&P store owned by the Metrochain, provided information to customers and gave the store manager a copy of the report which ranks Metro last among major Canadian supermarkets.

Confrontation campaign

During the campaign, Greenpeace activists will be challenging store management at chain outlets in 19 cities in five provinces in the coming weeks.

They will provide store customers with information on the failings of each outlet to ensure all seafoodsold is sustainably caught and farmed.

The online campaign

Online tools have been developed to encourage Canadians to demand that their supermarkets do moreto protect seafood and the oceans. 

New Greenpeace report shows need for the campaign

The confrontation campaign follows the release Friday of a new Greenpeace report, Outof Stock, Out of Excuses: Ranking retailers on seafood sustainability.

Download the report here.

All Canada's major grocery chains received failing rankings on their efforts to provide consumers with seafood that is sustainably caught and farmed.

Serious situation in the world's oceans

The depletion of seafood stocks in the world's oceans is severe. Media have reported today that a new global study shows that there are now 85 to 90 per cent less fish and marine mammals than there once were. Over exploitation is the main cause of the decline.

The Greenpeace confrontation campaign is designed to let customers know that supermarkets are major accomplices in ocean destruction.

"We want Canadian supermarkets to stop selling Redlist fish and begin implementing policies that promote the sale of sustainable seafood," said Beth Hunter, Greenpeace Oceans Coordinator.