Canned tuna's secret catch

Check out the fishing method that is being phased out by New Zealand’s big canned tuna brands.

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New Zealand’s five big tuna brands have committed to phase out a destructive tuna fishing method that kills sharks, turtles and baby tuna. This makes us the third country, behind the UK and Australia, to take steps to change to more sustainably caught tuna. This is good news for the Pacific tuna fishery which supplies most of New Zealand’s canned tuna. However, there is still more we can do to preserve tuna stocks and ensure we have tuna on our shelves, and in our Pacific Ocean, for the long-term:

  • The New Zealand Government must stand with our Pacific neighbours to ban the most destructive fishing methods, end overfishing and create marine reserves;

  • New Zealand’s tuna fishing companies must switch to more sustainable methods.

Until recently the Pacific had the world's last healthy tuna fisheries. These are now being overfished as industrial fishing fleets, which have exhausted tuna stocks in other oceans, are now concentrating their efforts in the Pacific.

All Pacific tuna stocks are in decline. Bigeye and yellowfin are the most at risk. Scientists have advised that fishing needs to be cut by up to 50 per cent to allow bigeye tuna to recover.

Many fishing fleets are using methods which are destructive catching five to 10 times more turtles, sharks and juvenile tuna compared to more sustainable fishing practices.

There are almost 6000 vessels licensed to fish in the Western and Central Pacific region. In 2012 those vessels caught over 2.6 million tonnes of tuna – around 60 per cent of the world’s tuna supply.

Foreign fishing vessels continue to steal tuna from the region, exploiting four pockets of international waters between Pacific islands nations. Illegal fishing is estimated to cost the Pacific region up to NZ$1.7 billion per year.

In 2013 we launched a report providing a blueprint for Pacific Island governments and regional bodies to promote a more sustainable and locally owned and operated tuna fishery in the region.

The report - titled Transforming Tuna Fisheries in Pacific Island Countries: An Alternative Model of Development makes detailed recommendations for how to develop smaller-scale and locally owned fisheries that will maximise economic returns, create local jobs and better protect countries’ precious tuna reserves for the long term.

The latest updates

 

New Zealand in prime position to protect Antarctic waters

Press release | July 13, 2012 at 13:05

Auckland, 13 July 2012 – Environmental groups responding to a report today (1) that the Antarctic is under serious threat from fishing and mineral exploration say the New Zealand Government is in pole position to champion new protection measures...

Greenpeace calls on Pacific tuna fisheries meeting to deliver sustainable tuna for...

Press release | March 27, 2012 at 15:28

Guam, 27 March 2012 – A report showing there is an increasing global demand for responsibly sourced tuna was released by Greenpeace yesterday at the start of an international meeting in Guam to decide on the future of Pacific tuna.

Sealord ignoring global shift to greener tuna fishing

Press release | March 8, 2012 at 12:21

Sealord is ignoring a global trend by canned tuna retailers taking steps to protect tuna stocks from overfishing, says Greenpeace.

US retailer says no to Ross Sea seafood

Press release | March 7, 2012 at 15:42

A third US retailer has announced it will not stock seafood from Antartica’s Ross Sea for environmental reasons, reports Greenpeace.

Greenpeace and Palau bust pirates in Palau shark sanctuary

Press release | December 9, 2011 at 16:29

Palau, 8 December 2011 - Palauan fisheries officials have boarded and detained a Taiwanese fishing vessel suspected of illegal fishing activities during a joint patrol with Greenpeace of the Pacific Island nation’s exclusive economic zone.

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