Greenpeace Exposes Korean Company’s Role in Pacific Tuna Decline

Press release - 28 June, 2011
Busan, South Korea 28 June 2011 -- An animation depicting the trail of Pacific tuna destruction was projected today onto onto the office building of Sajo Industries in the city of Busan, home to Korea’s distant water fishing fleet, by activists from the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior. South Korean company Sajo is highlighted in the animation for its role in the decline of Pacific tuna stocks and the indiscriminate killing of thousands of sharks, turtles and other marine life unwanted by the industry, but hauled on board as bycatch.

The Greenpeace criticism follows years of failure by the South Korean fishing
industry to support sustainable management of Pacific tunastocks. Just last
year, Korea helped derail a major proposal by Pacific island nations at the
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that would have
helped rescue Pacific tuna. Meanwhile, two key species of tuna in the region,
bigeye and yellowfin, are now being overfished.(1)

Sajo is the largest fishing company in Korea and the 3rd largest fishing company
in the world, with 7 purse seiners, 79 long-liners and 2 motherships operating in
the Pacific. Some of Sajo's fishing vessels have been caught in illegal activities. (2)

"We are drawing a line against Sajo’s corporate greed.  When our tuna is being
depleted by companies to the point of collapse, it is time for governments to
intervene and ensure we still have tuna left for the future," said Lagi Toribau,
Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace.

Despite calls from scientists to reduce fish catches since 2001, record numbers
of fish have been hauled out of the Pacific in the last three consecutive years. Both
an increase fleet capacity  and the use of wasteful fishing methods for finding and
capturing tuna, such asfish aggregation devices (FADs) - man-made objects used
to attract tuna to purse seine fishing nets - are largely to blame.

"Greenpeace is calling on the South Korean government to start properly regulating
its fishing fleet, and to fulfill its obligations as a responsible international player.  
This year, the government has an opportunity to show some leadership by
supporting conservation measures at the scientific forum of the Tuna Commission
in August and the annual Tuna Commission meeting in December," Toribau added.

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.

The Rainbow Warrior is currently in Busan to raise awareness on overfishing and
oceans destruction.  The ship recently concluded its "Nuclear-Free Korea"
campaign showing solidarity for communities living under the constant threat of a
nuclear meltdown.

Celebrating its 40th founding anniversary, Greenpeace recently inaugurated its
Seoul office which will introduce campaigns on climate and energy as well as
protection of our oceans.


NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Scientific Committee Fifth Regular Session: Summary Report’,
Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory
Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, August 2009.
Available at: http://www.wcpfc.int/doc/wcpfc-nc5-ip-06/summary-report-fifth-regular-session-scientific-committee-sc-chair-rev1


2. (http://oceans.greenpeace.org/raw/content/en/documents-reports/plundering-pacific.pdf).
The most recent cases involved two Sajo vessels fined by South Africaofficials in
2009 for illegally carrying shark fins onboard and the United States Coast Guard
in 2010 boarding another Sajo vessel with possible non-reporting violations :
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/docs/biennia_report_to_congress.pdf



Photos of the projection can be found here.