Which is Australia’s worst tuna brand?

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Feature Story - 18 October, 2012
Today Greenpeace released its 4th Canned Tuna Guide. Since our last guide, we have seen a profound shift in the market. While there is plenty to celebrate, one stand-out offender continues to destroy tuna stocks and marine life… John West.

Reject John West

Greenpeace’s Canned Tuna Guide helps consumers make informed choices and to sort the green from the greenwash.

Many Australians will be horrified to learn Australia’s largest selling brand – John West – is also having the biggest impact on our oceans, despite its sustainability rhetoric.

Greenpeace assesses brands on a range of factors, but one of the most important things they can do for our oceans is stop using fish aggregating devices (FADs) with giant purse seine nets. While other brands are making this commitment, John West remains hooked on FADs.

John West slashing ocean stocks

When John West’s suppliers go fishing, 10% of the catch is made up of important marine life like sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles, known as bycatch. These sea creatures are unnecessarily killed because the company refuses to stop using outdated and destructive fishing methods.

John West’s tuna haul results in enough bycatch to fill 10 million cans every year. That’s a stack of tuna cans 400km tall – high enough to reach the international space station!

The facts:

  • John West is Australia’s biggest tuna brand – it sells 97 million cans of tuna a year. By selling over a third of all canned tuna in Australia, John West’s decisions have the biggest impact on our oceans.
  • John West catches the equivalent of 10 million cans of sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles a year by refusing to ban FADs. That’s 10% of its tuna haul.
  • John West claims it is committed to sustainability but, for 98% of its tuna, John West still permits the use of FADs with nets.
  • Brands all over the world have banned the use of FADs, including John West UK and John West’s main Australian competitors.

We’ve been calling on John West to change its fishing methods since 2009. While other brands have improved, John West has refused.  Now we’ve launched a campaign to change John West’s mind. And we need your help! Visit our Reject John West website and do a range of activities to convince John West to change its tuna.

Reject John West

The good tuna news

While John West continues to let Australians down, its competitors are taking ocean protection seriously. With this edition of the Canned Tuna Guide, two major brands – Greenseas and Sirena – have pledged to ban the use of FADs by 2015.

Safcol’s switch to 100% pole and line tuna last year led the way and showed that big changes can be made. And at little extra cost to the consumer. Today you can choose from eight sustainable pole and line products.

2012 Canned Tuna Ranking

What remains clear with each edition of the Canned Tuna Guide is Australians play a huge role in influencing our canned tuna industry. If you’re shopping for canned tuna, be sure to only purchase a sustainable pole and line option and tell the worst brands to stop destroying our oceans.

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