On Monday night, we at Greenpeace France organised one of the most successful protests I’ve ever been a part of, one to get our message demanding that the bluefin tuna be saved to the right people. Our goal was simple: to be heard by ICCAT delegates who were invited by the French Fisheries Directorate. Here in France, which is hosting the meeting that will decide the bluefin’s future, we have been working for months to raise public awareness of the issue and trying to get the ICCAT delegates to not just cater to the short-sighted fishing industry interests. We began our push with the TunaMobile in October and of course, our TunaMobile was there on Monday night to be seen and heard by the ICCAT delegates. It was not easy, but we were there on the water as the delegates were invited onto the boat for a reception organised by the very people who have overfished the bluefin. We hung a banner on the bridge nearby and deployed banners just near the boat in the River Seine.
From my point of view as a Greenpeace communications officer, it was a huge success: pictures of our 25 activists on their canoes, in their boats and hanging from the bridge with the huge banner were amazing! I received a great number of phone calls from journalists, wanting to know the latest developments and what the reaction from the boat cruise was. The video of the protest was broadcast on TV stations all over the world and on the web and the photos were seen by people everywhere.
This protest on the Seine helped us to achieve not only one goal, to make direct communication to ICCAT delegates, but we also managed to be heard by the whole population.
I think that could be very important for the conference: now people who are going to decide how many tons of bluefin tuna can be fished next year know that Greenpeace AND the world are watching them.
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Axel Renaudin is a Communications Officer with Greenpeace France based in Paris.