Greenpeace Releases Shocking Video of Tuna Industry’s Wasteful Fishing Practices

Feature story - November 17, 2011
17 November 2011 (Vancouver) – Shocking video footage captured by a tuna industry whistleblower was released by Greenpeace today. The video reveals the routine and careless slaughter of marine species, including whale sharks, rays and whales [1]. Purse-seine vessels, deploying Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), cut swathes through the Pacific Ocean and are responsible for this needless by-catch. The video has emerged less than a month before the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting, where key conservation measures to secure the future of the Pacific region’s tuna, marine life, food security and economic prosperity will be decided.

The never-before-seen footage, taken onboard a tuna fishing vessel in the Pacific, reveals what can be the true cost of canned tuna. It underlines the urgent need for nations to extend a fishing ban in the Pacific Commons[2] and to ban the use of FADs with purse seine nets at this December’s meeting. Both steps are necessary for the creation of a healthy tuna industry, and the promise living oceans for the future.

“Consumers have the right to know what is destroyed and discarded in order to fill their cans with tuna,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “This shocking video is a wake-up call: we as consumers can demand that retailers give shelf-space only to responsibly-caught tuna.  Without significant changes to global fishing practices and more protected marine reserves across the world’s seas, we will literally fish away future tuna supplies, jobs and healthy oceans.”

Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) are floating devices used to attract fish to the surface, and are one of the most aggressive fishing devices in use by the industry. These devices are used on fish populations that are in decline as a result of overfishing. While they have been banned in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean for three months of the year, this is not enough. Greenpeace calls for a year-round ban on purse seine fisheries.

Greenpeace campaigns globally for nations to ban all fishing in the high seas area of the region known as the Pacific Commons and to ban the use of FADs with purse seines across the Western and Central Pacific at the Pacific tuna commission meeting. Nearly 60 per cent of the world’s tuna comes from the Pacific [3], where valuable bigeye and yellowfin tuna are currently being overfished. The increased catch of juvenile tuna with FADs puts species at further risk. Greenpeace also demands that tuna fishing across the Western and Central Pacific be cut in half.

“Clover Leaf, Canada’s largest brand of canned tuna, is filling its cans with FAD-caught tuna and refuses to move away from sourcing from this destructive method,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada’s oceans campaign coordinator. “The company keeps trying to paint its tuna green, but it cannot assure its customers that other marine life, as shown in this video, was not killed to fill Clover Leaf cans,” added King.

Several tuna brands, including UK tuna giants Princes and John West, have committed to stop sourcing tuna from operations using FADs, as well as tuna caught in the Pacific Commons. Greenpeace campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Canada and the United States urge retailers and tuna brands to take steps to rescue the Pacific for the benefit of the region’s food security and economic prosperity. 

Greenpeace conducts global campaigns for fishing industry reform and for a global network of marine reserves. Marine reserves are areas of ocean off-limits to fishing, which must cover 40 per cent of the world’s oceans. These are necessary steps to a fish-rich future and healthy, living oceans.

For more information on Greenpeace’s Clover Leaf campaign, visit

[1] Large marine animals such as whale sharks and cetaceans are also being routinely used as FADs in purse seine fisheries, resulting in increased deaths of these vulnerable species:


[3] Globally, over 80 per cent of fish populations are at risk of commercial extinction, due to overfishing. In the Pacific the bigeye and yellowfin tuna populations are now being overfished, both were recently listed as vulnerable and threatened with extinction by the World Conservation Union (IUCN):
Last stock assessments for Western and Central Pacific bigeye and yellowfin available here: