Greenpeace’s ranking report, Lifting the lid on the major canned tuna brands in Canada: Ranking the sustainability and equitability of tuna sourcing, reveals that most brands of Canadian canned tuna use fish coming from unsustainable and socially irresponsible fisheries. Tuna fisheries are plagued by overfishing and use fishing techniques, including man-made Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) that capture large amounts of other marine life with tuna, including at-risk species such as turtles, sharks and sea birds.
“The destructive fishing methods used to catch most tuna in Canadian stores means that consumers could be getting more than just tuna,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “If consumers knew of the wasted marine life and imperiled tuna caught to produce their can of tuna, they might think twice at the supermarket. Canned tuna is a Canadian staple, found in every supermarket chain, but it could eventually run out if retailers do not start sourcing from responsible fisheries.”
Wild Planet Foods and Raincoast Trading lead the Greenpeace ranking due to their commitments to sustainability which are reflected in their actions on the water and on their cans put them ahead of other Canadian tuna companies. To improve their scores, Wild Planet and Raincoast Trading should both provide proof that their tuna comes from healthy stocks. They also use more selective fishing gear, support coastal-state-owned operations, and provide clearer labeling for consumers. Most other tuna brands ranked by Greenpeace Canada have yet to turn commitments to sustainability into actual policy.
Well-known national brand Clover Leaf, Canada’s largest canned seafood company (and the Canadian arm of US tuna giant Bumble Bee), came in 11th. It was one of only two companies that did not respond to the Greenpeace tuna survey. Bumble Bee/Clover Leaf is one of the founders of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), an industry trade group whose stated mission is to ensure the scientifically sound management of tuna stocks. However, ISSF brands and their products regularly fail to lead on tuna sustainability. Greenpeace’s recent UK tinned tuna ranking placed two ISSF brands, Princes and John West, at the very bottom for their unsustainable sourcing policies.(1) Bolton, an Italian owned ISSF brand was also ranked in Canada and finished 12th just below Clover Leaf.
Just last week, Greenpeace activists in Taiwan took action against a fish carrier vessel with ties to canneries that provide tuna for Bumble Bee and other companies. The vessel was not registered according to Taiwan’s laws, was arrested in Japan in 2004 and stands accused of human rights violations.
“Clover Leaf ranked 11th because its tuna does not come from sustainable fisheries and does not provide information on the sustainability of its tuna on its cans, only on its web site,” added Tolvanen. “As a major canned tuna provider, Clover Leaf and other ISSF brands worldwide need to do more than just pay lip service to sustainability. By showing its consumers what exactly is in their cans and being forthcoming with Greenpeace will keep many people from questioning why the word ‘sustainability’ is in ISSF’s name.”
Last place (14th) went to Unico, the other company that did not respond. Unico shows no sign of considering the sustainability or equitability of its tuna.
Greenpeace is calling on supermarket chains and tuna brands to only source from healthy tuna stocks, by avoiding fisheries operating illegally or using indiscriminate fishing methods, by supporting equitable fishing agreements and including traceability and sourcing information on product labels. Greenpeace is campaigning for fishing industry reform and for a global network of marine reserves covering forty percent of the world’s oceans, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health and to maintain living oceans and ample fish for future generations.
For more information, please contact:
Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner (in the Pacific), +31 655 125 480
Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications (in Amsterdam), +31 643 787 359 or
Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada oceans campaigner (in Vancouver), +1 778 227-6458
Editors note: A full copy of the report can be found at: www.greenpeace.ca
The tuna brand companies and supermarket chains received the following scores in ranking order 1-14: Wild Planet (65.1%); Raincoast (50.0%); Ocean Fisheries Ltd. (45.7%); Metro (45.2%); Sobeys (42.1%); Loblaw (41.0%); Walmart (40.7%); Canadian Fishing Company (40.4%); Overwaitea Food Group (39.1%); Safeway (30.6%); Clover Leaf Seafoods Company (27.8%); Bolton Alimentari Italia S.p.A. (23.0%); Pastene, Inc. (4.1%); and Unico, Inc. (1.7%).
1.) The Greenpeace UK Tinned Tuna League Table can be found at: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/tunaleaguetable
Greenpeace International Press Releases via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/greenpeacepress