Being a Greenpeace oceans campaigner I haven’t eaten tuna for years. But, how about my little nephew? He recently asked me for a tuna pizza. I told him that there’s a good chance that sharks, turtles or baby tuna could have died for the tuna on his pizza and asked if he still wanted it. He looked at me in shock and firmly shook his head and said no. When I explained that there could soon be tuna taken one by one with pole and line fishing on sale at the market near his house - he enthusiastically nodded this time.
The reality is that there are no pole and line products available in my nephew’s country yet, but there is also not enough pole and line to meet the global demand for tuna. While industrial fishing methods will never be as selective and reduce by-catch as well as pole and line fishing can, they can be done responsibly. One of the main drivers of ocean destruction and the tuna decline are Fish Aggregation Devices, or FADs, artificial structures made of wood and bamboo that lure ocean creatures seeking food and shelter towards them. The FADs are deadly fish magnets not only for tuna but also for sharks, turtles and baby fish – too young to have reproduced- all of which are instinctively drawn to the floating objects and taken away with large nets...
Greenpeace UK published its first tuna brands ranking guide in 2008. It resulted in quick improvements, especially from UK supermarket tuna brands. It has now been nearly two years since Greenpeace UK’s first contact with Princes, a major UK tuna brand, and the company’s position remains at the bottom of the second UK tuna brand ranking still after numerous meetings with Greenpeace. Princes’ recently published “sustainable seafood sourcing policy” contains no real substance and does not go beyond the minimum legislative standards. The fact that Princes is not going even one step beyond its competitors confirms what we have been suspecting for a while now: the tuna industry has united to deflect any attempts to challenge its sustainability claims (it has even formed the so-called International Seafood Sustainability Foundation for this purpose). Having learned from the dolphin – tuna scandal in the 1980s, the industry decided to defend its very cheap and efficient method of catching tuna as a united front.
There are companies that are starting to rethink. However, the majority, the big industrial players, are refusing to act. When it comes to the UK market Princes is the one showing least initiative. Help us to make Princes to take a first step which the international tuna industry will need to follow.
>>Take action and join the movement to Defend our Oceans. Send an e-mail to Michael Easterbrook and Mark Church, the Directors of Sustainability and Marketing at Princes Tuna, telling them to stop canning ocean destruction.