Seoul, 11 September 2012 — Greenpeace today accused Dongwon Industries, South Korea's largest fishing company, of using unsustainable methods in its tuna fishing operations. In a non-violent protest, Greenpeace climbers covered the entrance of Dongwon's headquarters with a fishing net and image of a big fishbone with a slogan that says “Dongwon Korea's No.1 Ocean Plunderer”. The protest coincides with the Ocean Defender's Tour of Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza in South Korea to raise awareness on the negative impacts of overfishing to our marine ecosystem.
Greenpeace representatives also handed company officials a giant tuna can with messages from hundreds of consumers urging the company to change its destructive fishing practices and commit to sustainable fishing.
According to Greenpeace, Dongwon continues to sell yellow fin tuna in its product line despite scientific warnings that the species is threatened by overfishing. Dongwon also uses fish aggregation device (FAD) with its purse seine fleets that result in the indiscriminate scooping of all types of marine animals congregating under such device -- thus resulting to a large amount of unwanted bycatch.
“Dongwon is the biggest tuna company in South Korea in terms of fishing capacity and dominates the canned tuna market in the country with more than 50% market share. However, their business methods and policies are not sustainable. We are here to show the public that the company's fishing prowess is done on the back of overfishing and indiscriminate bycatch, which contributes to tuna species depletion," said Yuen Ping Chow, Greenpeace East Asia Senior Oceans Campaigner.
Greenpeace is calling on Dongwon to commit to stopping the use of FADs in its purse seine fishing, stop selling Pacific yellowfin and bigeye products, and support the set up of marine reserve in the Pacific ocean where it relies for a large portion of its tuna supply.
Last week, Greenpeace released its canned tuna ranking in South Korea that ranked Dongwon last place due to its destructive fishing practices and a refusal to commit to sustainable fishing.
“People are now concerned about the environment. Consumers want to buy products from sustainable sources. As the number one tuna brand in Korea, Dongwon should listen to its customers, then take the lead in sustainability, both nationally and internationally,” On this page Yuen Ping Chow added.
Greenpeace is asking tuna brands globally to implement policies that support the conservation of tuna species and reduction of destructive fishing. Already, due to Greenpeace pressure, major tuna retailers in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Italy have improved their sourcing policy and provided consumers with sustainable products they have demanded.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health for future generations.