Another big fish netted

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Feature Story - 11 December, 2012
If sharks and turtles celebrated Christmas, they’d be getting the best present ever from Santa this year. Just days after John West announced a phase-out of destructive fishing after a six week Greenpeace campaign, supermarket giant Coles has followed their lead.

Just days ago, the supermarket giant surreptitiously slipped this statement onto their website:

“By 2015, Coles will end the sourcing of tuna from unsustainable methods such as the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in purse seine tuna fisheries and only sell tuna caught using environmentally responsible methods such as pole & line and free school, and unassociated purse seine fishing.”

It may not have come with much fanfare, but the impact on our oceans is massive. Like John West, Coles currently employs a fishing method responsible for unnecessarily killing of hundreds of thousands of sea creatures – like sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles - every year as ‘by-catch.’

This is a big win for the oceans and another big win for consumer power. It shows the power of what we can do when we take action together.

The knock-on effects of these wins are also huge. Neither Coles nor John West actually catch any of their own fish. Like many other brands, they buy from Thai canneries. The tuna itself is caught in the Pacific by huge fishing fleets from all over the world.
It’s in this market that the change has its real impact. Such is the purchasing power of Coles and John West that the fleets supplying the canneries will be forced to fish in a much more sustainable way – which in turn is good news for fish stocks, endangered creatures like sharks and turtles – and the people of the Pacific who rely on tuna for food and income.

Consumer action in Australia and around the world is forcing a shift away from destructive fishing.  And the momentum is with us. Transforming our market is literally transforming fisheries.

Now, it’s just Woolworths and the smaller retailers which are dragging the chain.

We need to keep up the pressure. Woolies is the biggest player still hooked on destruction with Aldi and IGA also failing to lift their game. Let them know that unsustainable is unacceptable.

Change your tuna

2012 Canned Tuna Ranking