Japan consumes 25% of the world’s tuna, including more than three-quarters of the remaining critically endangered bluefin tuna. With 80% of the world’s fish populations fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted(1), Greenpeace is urging Japanese consumers, retailers and restaurants to remove red-listed fish from their shopping lists, plates, shelves and freezers. Japan, the industrial nation with the biggest per capita seafood consumption, will host this year’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where leaders must set aside more ocean areas as off-limits to fishing and industrial activities from which our oceans can be restored to health.
“The ongoing destructive fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna, which begins this month, is only one example of how fishing industries and governments are failing our oceans, “ said Wakao Hanaoka, Greenpeace Japan oceans campaigner. “Overfishing has driven bluefin fisheries to the brink of collapse in all the world’s oceans, and other tuna species will follow if urgent action to defend our oceans and protect the species is not taken immediately. It is up to supermarkets, restaurant chains and consumers to take action where politicians have not, only then will future generations have healthy oceans.”
Pacific bluefin tuna is high on the Greenpeace Japan ‘red list’, a large tuna species that is fished using destructive purse-seining vessels in the Sea of Japan. Its meat is highly prized and has lead to massive overfishing, for several years 90% of the whole bluefin catch has been of juvenile fish less than one year old, taking this species to the verge of collapse. Earlier this year, Greenpeace took action in the Mediterranean to demand the closure of the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery, to allow the species to recover to levels that would enable future fishing. Japanese demand for bluefin is driving the species’ disappearance around the world. Greenpeace’s seafood ranking guides have helped to raise public awareness of the role overfishing for seafood plays in oceans destruction. They have been instrumental in securing retailer commitments to source more sustainably-sourced seafood.
Greenpeace is campaigning to establish a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans: areas off-limits to fishing and other industrial activities. This network of marine reserves can help produce a viable future for fishermen and in creating healthy oceans for future generations.
“It is high time for the establishment of a global network of marine reserves, including areas for the protection of the world’s tuna species. As the host of the CBD meeting, Japan has the opportunity to show leadership on oceans protection,” added Hanaoka.
Greenpeace’s priority areas for ocean protection include bluefin tuna spawning grounds in the Sea of Japan, the Mediterranean Sea, and areas of the Pacific Ocean.
Notes to Editors:
1. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's 2008 "State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture" reports that "Overall, 80 percent of the world fish stocks for which assessment information is available are reported as fully exploited or overexploited..." can be found here: