INVESTING TO EXPAND FISHING FOR DEPLETED STOCKS, A BAD BUSINESS, SAYS GREENPEACE

Press release - 2014-09-19
Hong Kong 16 Sept 2014 – Greenpeace exposes today that the China Tuna Industry Group (CTI) Holding Limited, which is planning for public listing on the Hong Kong stock market imminently, understates the environmental and sustainability risks of the company's operations, and provides outdated information to the investment community in its Application proof version of prospectus[1]. The company plans to issue its shares on the HK Stock Exchange in order to finance the continuous expansion of its fishing operations. Greenpeace has sent a complaint letter to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, demanding the process is suspended until the company provides a full risk assessment based on the latest sciences and facts.

Greenpeace exposes that some of the data used in the draft prospectus is based on outdated bigeye tuna stock assessments information. The scientific committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)[2] has recently established that the stock of bigeye tuna is now at such a dangerously low level, it should trigger immediate conservation measures to recover the stock.[3]

Greenpeace Senior business advisor Elsa Lee said, “How can you invest on a company that is ignoring the depletion of the stocks it relies on and is making money by getting through the loopholes of international conservation measures? The only result of this short-sighted business model will be bankruptcy, as there will be no more fish to catch.”

The company also admits that the Chinese fleet has repeatedly violated the catch limits allocated to China by WCPFC. The company appears to be exploiting gaps in fisheries regulations and basing its IPO valuation and future revenue projection on the belief that neither the international community nor the Chinese government will improve their provisions on compliance or impose sanctions on those who ignore the rules.

The main target species of the Dalian-based company is the overfished bigeye tuna, the most vulnerable of the three main tropical tuna species.[4] The company, which supplies the Japanese sashimi market and has an interest in expanding its market in mainland China, is planning for public listing by the end of September.

“The more reasonable expectation is that fishing for bigeye tuna in the Western Pacific, the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans will be increasingly restricted. This is particularly the case in the Western Pacific, where the company takes most of its catch. Not acknowledging that bigeye tuna catches are very likely to decrease should be of genuine concern to potential investors” added Elsa Lee.

The prospectus also claims longlining is a more environmentally friendly way to catch tuna than others. However, this gear is responsible for high bycatch rates[5] of endangered species including turtles, sharks and seabirds.

This is a typical story of the tuna industry ignoring the facts around fish stock decline while trying to catch the last fish in the water. The industry must start working to protect fish stocks and developing their business in a sustainable way. If tuna stocks collapse, so too does industry.

Greenpeace is calling the Hong Kong stock exchange to suspend the IPO process of China Tuna Industry Group until the company can provide a full risk analysis based on the latest scientific information. The company is obliged to disclose to their potential investors all the risks based on up-to-date science. We urge the China Tuna Industry Group to cooperate with Chinese authorities and follow international rule to help rebuild the stock. This is the only way to ensure the industry has a sustainable future.

Media Contact:

Elsa Lee, Senior Business Advisor, Greenpeace East Asia
Email:

Josephine Ng, Communications Team Leader, Greenpeace East Asia
Email:



[2] The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is the regional fisheries management organisation responsible of the establishment of rules (including catch limits, effort restrictions, gear restrictions, etc) governing the catches of tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

[3] WCPFC Scientific Committee. Stock assessment of bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean (25 July 2014). Available at: https://wcpfc.int/node/18975

[4] The three main tropical tuna species are skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna.

[5] Kelleher K (2005). Discards in the World's Marine Fisheries. An Update. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome Italy. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 47. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/y5936e/y5936e00.pdf

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