Supermarkets selling us overfished tuna

Feature Story - 6 March, 2010
Greenpeace has exposed supermarkets selling overfished tuna in a guide released today that rates leading brands of Australia's best-loved seafood.

Australian canned tuna brands.

Supermarkets are selling Australian consumers overfished tuna without our knowledge. As a result, many species are being driven to the brink of extinction.

Today, the most common method of fishing tuna - using nets as big as several city blocks - catches 1kg of unwanted marine animals for every 10kg of tuna caught.

Several species of tuna are in big trouble. Stocks of Northern and Southern Bluefin have collapsed, and already Bigeye, Yellowfin and Albacore Tuna are declining. Destructive tuna fishing practices also result in the widespread slaughter of hundreds of thousands of turtles and sharks.

Since many brands fail to label their products, consumers are in the dark about what they are eating.

The Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide ranks brands in four areas: how endangered the tuna species is, policy on illegal fishing, fair tuna trade with the Pacific countries, and usage of destructive fishing practices.

The ranking is topped by Greenseas, with Sirena rated as the worst brand. While 90 per cent of the world's predatory fish have already been wiped out, the tuna trade remains big business. Canned tuna is the biggest selling seafood product in Australia - worth more than $330 million for Australian supermarkets - and is a staple for many Australian families.

"Most Australians would be horrified to know that they are eating threatened species," said Greenpeace CEO Dr Linda Selvey.

"We have launched this guide to help people make an informed choice and to urge supermarkets to remove the worst, unlabelled brands from their shelves."