Although I have an Asian face, I am not a Korean and I can't speak the language. But in the past few days the only sentence in my mind is:
"Greenpeace neun hankuk chamchi op che Dongwon e sak sul i oe oepeul jung dan hal geosl chuk gu ham ni da" (Greenpeace urges the Korean tuna company Dongwon to stop destructive fishing)
I kept practising it because I want to say those to Dongwon Industries company representatives when we confronted them yesterday.
Language is not a barrier, just as the oceans have no barriers.
After launching the Hidden Secret of Canned Tuna report, we followed it up with a protest. Our activists climbed up the Dongwon headquarters in Seoul displaying a big fish bone in a fishing net and a banner saying "Dongwon, Korea's No.1 Ocean Plunderer!" Activists involved in this protests came from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even Fiji, just because we all love the oceans.
With the tuna ranking out last week, we collected hundreds of messages from Korean consumers urging Dongwon, which has a commanding 50% market share, to change. Many consumers did not know about the issue behind canned tuna and could not imagine that a common food such as tuna is now in trouble. When they saw our report and understood the issue, they all wanted big Korean companies to support the protection of our oceans. Their messages were really touching:
"Dongwon, please save the ocean, because we trust you."
"Don't catch juvenile tuna."
"Use the right method to catch tuna."
We packaged consumers' messages into a giant tuna can and delivered it to representatives from Dongwon. We hope the company can listen to their customers' demand for sustainable tuna choices.
As the biggest tuna company in Korea, Dongwon should take the lead on sustainability and not lag behind Sajo and Ottogi, its main competitors in the market. Dongwon should stop destructive fishing practices, start sustainable fishing operations and pass on a healthy oceans to future generations. We hope the industry can change their ways of fishing to ensure our next generation can also eat seafood.
Greenpeace is campaigning for tuna brands to improve their sustainability policies. Some of the steps they can take include eliminating the use of fish aggregating device (FAD) with their purse seine fleet, and support the creation of a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world's oceans. Both are necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health and consequently ample fish for future generations.