London/Sydney, 26th July 2011: This week, tuna brand John West UK announced a shift to sustainable sourcing and lent its backing to Pacific marine reserves. Its actions mean the UK supermarket sector is the most sustainable worldwide on canned tuna.
While John West joins UK companies Princes, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, M&S, Tesco, the Co-op and Morrisons, who have already banned tuna fishing methods that use vast nets called ‘purse seines’ along with Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)1, most Australian tuna brands are sticking by this destructive method.
“The UK is putting Australia to shame when it comes to protecting Pacific tuna,” said Greenpeace Oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle. “It’s astounding that major brands like John West UK can offer the British sustainable tuna, while their namesake in Australia is filling cans with fish caught by destructive methods. We hope the changes in the UK prompt Australian brands to get their acts together.”
John West in Australia, along with tuna brands like, Woolworths, Sirena and Greenseas have refused to switch to sustainable fishing methods.
“Most Australian tuna brands are taking some measures to improve,” said Pelle, “but these are baby steps in comparison to their UK counterparts.”
“At a minimum, Australians should be able to expect the same standards from Aussie tuna brands that UK consumers now enjoy.”
Earlier this month scientists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature warned that five out of the eight species of tuna are at risk of extinction.
“If Australian tuna companies like Woolworths, Greenseas, John West and Sirena are serious about the long-term viability of their industry, they’ll commit to providing their Australian customers with the same sustainable products.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific: James Lorenz +61 (0)400 376 021.
Greenpeace UK: Simon Clydesdale +44 20 7865 8251, mobile + 44 (0)7989 034113.
1: FADs are floating objects, often equipped with satellite-linked sonar devices, around which tuna instinctively gather, but which also attract sharks, juvenile tuna and turtles, all scooped up by fishing nets and mostly discarded as waste.