Hurrah! At last some good news for Pacific tuna. Eight Pacific Island nations have signed an agreement to stop foreign fishing fleets taking their tuna. Our ship the Esperanza has been in the Pacific for the last 7 weeks confronting unscrupulous foreign fleets that take 90% of the fish, and even more of the profit.
I was on board for a similar tour in 2006 –believe me it’s a campaign that stays with you.
Bigeye and yellowfin are in crisis, and Pacific island nations are devastated by the plunder of their waters. That’s why it’s so great to hear that (ok deep breath now) Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu – have all stood up to this exploitation.
It’s a great boost to the global tuna campaign – another Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise is in the Med also saving tuna. And at the other end of the line activists recently shut down the stalls of the 5 major tuna suppliers at the world’s biggest seafood fair.
Here’s a story, written by one our activists, Zosia Durniat from that day:
Fish Stocks & Fish Net Stockings - Going Down!
It’s 10am, the sun is shining and “Miss Whiplash” (so much for my efforts at looking corporate) and her fish-loving friends have breached security at the world’s biggest fish expo in Brussels, Belgium.
We breeze past the door-people, a really fishy smell hitting us as we arrive at the stand of Ricardo Fuentes e Hijos – a company infamous as the bad guys in the fishing business. Like lightening we get to work, some of us spraying (washable) “closed for business” and “tuna sold out” signs whilst others spread fishing nets around the sneaky stand. The provocatively-displayed tuna seems to wink at me as the Ricardo people get to work as fast as us – within seconds feisty (ok, downright violent), Spanish women are brandishing giant fish knifes and hacking our nets to pieces - Vale? – One asks, eyes blaring into me, as I shake my head peacefully…
The banners sharing our message with the world are already in place and a warm crowd is gathering around when we begin to hand out the campaigns leaflets to the people in the industry who have the power to change this story.
We join our friends who have locked on, linking arms across the floor of the stand. When they try to carry on business as usual, bribing people in with free beer, we chant “Time and tuna is running out” until the big guys in suits exasperatedly call the even bigger guys (is that really possible?) and wave their mobile phones towards our chorus.
When the seats become free we try to occupy them so the meetings cannot continue but the business guys turn nasty and even security step in to protect us! They oh-so-gently half-heartedly push at me. My wrists are peacefully, but determinedly, gripping the seat – I aint going no-where. “Mademoiselle, s’il vous plait”…they plead; genuinely concerned that even worse violence will break out - as it has on another stand at the expo. I return to the floor – after all this is a futile attempt if we cannot take all of the seats.
When the police arrive they barricade us in with crime tape and hold up blankets in a vain attempt to stop the ever-swelling crowds gawking. One by one they cut us out. They somewhat violently cuff us with bitey, nasty cable ties, and then drag us to our feet and out of the building. A loud cheer and friendly clapping erupts as we stumble out towards the police bus. As we drive away from the site we catch a final glimpse of the giant banner the climbers have hung and the whole bus shakes with our cheer… A job well done. And a clear message to the industry that this unsustainable exploitation and desecration of the world’s oceans cannot continue. Nice one guys.