Greenpeace Calls on Tuna Industry, ISSF Trade Association to Step Up Efforts to Save Tuna

Press release - 13 September, 2010
Bangkok, 13 September 2010- Greenpeace is calling on the world’s tuna industry, gathering in Bangkok for its biannual trade conference, to abandon wasteful fishing methods - particularly the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) to attract fish to purse-seine fishing nets- in order to rescue the world’s dwindling tuna stocks and restore the world’s oceans to health.

“Business as usual for the tuna industry will mean no more tuna, no more tuna fishing,” said Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. “Time and tuna are running out - the fishing methods used by the companies gathered here are not only wiping out juvenile tuna, but also sharks and turtles. The crises induced by wasteful fishing can and should be ended here in Bangkok,” he added.

The FADs used with purse seine nets are the main cause of the decline in bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks and the huge, unsustainable, increases in the world’s skipjack tuna fishing (1). Numerous scientific reports have made it clear that a ban on FADs is the most effective way to reduce the unsustainable catch of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas in purse seine fisheries (2).

Up to 80% of the world’s tinned tuna brands have formed the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) (3), the proclaimed mission of which is to ‘undertake science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.’ ISSF member companies, also present in Bangkok, are either large producers or processors of tuna caught using FADs and contribute to the decline of tuna, sharks, turtles and other vulnerable marine life. Greenpeace is urging the ISSF to stop sourcing purse seine FAD-caught tuna. Greenpeace is also calling upon retailers to not buy tuna from the companies that refuse to move away from FAD’s, including ISSF companies such as Princes, Bumble Bee/Clover Leaf  and others.

“ISSF and its member companies are hiding behind a three year research program on bycatch reduction as the reason for not moving away from FAD fishing,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “Recently, scientists have presented evidence that a ban on FADs is the most efficient solution to the by-catch problem associated with this fishing method. Such a ban should be a prerequisite for ISSF members’ sourcing policies, in response to consumer demand for sustainable seafood products..”

Greenpeace is campaigning for healthy oceans by working to create a global network of marine reserves to cover 40 percent of the world’s oceans and to make the fishing industry more sustainable - necessary steps to vibrant oceans and fish for the future.


(1) Now, for the first time a Japanese scientists report the decline in Skipjack Tuna at the edge of its range in Japan. Similar declines in Skipjack catch have been experienced in Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam as the Skipjack stock range contracts. Uosaki i, et al. 2010. Recent status of Japanese skipjack fishery in the vicinity of Japan. WCPFC-SC6-2010/SA- WP-07

(2) Harley, Williams and Hampton 2010, Characterisation of purse seine fishing activities during the 2009 FAD closure.  WCPFC-SC6-2010/MI-WP-03

(3) Member Companies are Bolton Alimentari; Bumble Bee Foods, LLC / Clover Leaf Seafoods; MW Brands; Princes Ltd.; Sea Value Co., Ltd.; StarKist Co.; Thai Union Manufacturing Co. Ltd / Chicken of the Sea Intl.; TriMarine International, Frinsa SA, Nirsa. S.A.