Take Action!

What is happening to the tuna?

Page - November 4, 2010
What can you do to help?

1. Send your message to the NZ Government

Send a message to the NZ Government and urge it to fully support the closure of four areas, in the Pacific Ocean, to all fishing.

And if you already sent it, help sharing it at Facebook.

2. Write a letter to your local MP

This is one of the most effective things you can do. In this electronic era, MP’s are inundated by emails however the amount of physical letters that MP’s receive has reduced considerably. By taking the effort to write your own personal letter this will demonstrate that you feel strongly about this issue. Writing a letter to your MP requires careful thought, preparation and follow-up. To find out which electorate you live in and who the Member of Parliament for your electorate is visit http://www.elections.org.nz/mapping and either enter your address in the left-hand widget, or use the interactive map to find your electorate.
Key points that you can outline in your letter include:

  • Until recently the Pacific contained the last relatively healthy stocks, but as tuna has been overfished in other parts of the world more and more fishing effotuna rt has focused on the Pacific and now tuna stocks here are in serious trouble. Last year the Pacific tuna commission's own scientists called for fishing effort to be cut by up to half to allow bigeye tuna to recover from overfishing - already 83 per cent of the bigeye stock has been wiped out.
  • For many Pacific Island countries tuna represents a major natural resource, making it vital to economies, livelihoods and as a source of food. That is now at risk: bigeye and yellowfin tuna are overfished, and a decline has been noted in
    even skipjack tuna, the most abundant and resilient of the tuna species.
  • Most of the fishing in the region is done by foreign fishing fleets from Asia, America and Europe. Foreign fleets take most of the profits with them, leaving Pacific Island countries a mere 5-6 per cent of the value of the tuna catch.
  • On top of the overfishing and exploitation by foreign fleets, illegal fishing is also costing the Pacific. In Greenpeace expeditions we have shown that the four pockets of international waters are home to much of the illegal activity in the region.
  • Pacific island countries, supported by Australia, have called for the closure of high seas pockets to fishing. Some progress has already been made, with areas 1 and 2 closed to purse seine fishing. But many of the foreign fishing countries have tried to block these closures. Unlike Australia, New Zealand has not yet spoken up in support of our Pacific Island neighbours by calling for these areas to be closed.
  • New Zealand only has a small fleet in the region and there is no reason for us not to support the closures our Pacific neighbours are seeking. Closing areas to fishing, and creating marine reserves, has been shown to benefit fish stocks and will support sustainable fishing in the region. What's more it will make it much easier to control pirate fishing in the region by putting these areas off limits to fishing altogether.
  • Greenpeace is also calling for fishing effort to be cut by half. It sounds extreme, but the tuna commission's own scientific committee has also recommended that fishing must be cut by 36-50 per cent to allow bigeye tuna to recover. Recent economic modeling has also shown that fishing at the current high rate will also cost the industry 3.4 billion over fifty years compared with the higher economic returns that could be achieved if fishing were reduced.

3. Send a postcard and get some signed by your friends, family and networks

To order your postcards email or call 0800 223344 with your name, and current postal address.


4. Contact your local networker to join the market activities in your area.

We will be attending busy markets in main centres around the country. If you are keen to participate at Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Wellington, Hamilton please contact .

5. Become a Greenpeace volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to get more involved with our campaigns on a regular basis.

For more information on volunteering and to register check out:


Once you have registered you will receive a volunteer welcome pack and monthly volunteer e-newsletter with campaign updates and ways you can get active.

6. Have some fun while helping our Pacific tuna 

You can download this colouring sheet for kids to have some fun while helping our Pacific tuna campaign at the same time. When it's finished you can stick it on the fridge or send it to Phil Heatley, the Minister of Fisheries, as a message from our kids about protecting the future of the oceans and asking him to help save Pacific tuna.