UK Retailer Morrisons Chooses Sustainable Tuna Following Greenpeace Pressure

Press release - 12 April, 2011
Amsterdam, 12 April 2011 –Greenpeace today welcomed news from UK retailer Morrisons it was turning its back on wasteful tuna fishing methods responsible for ocean destruction.

Following three months of pressure from Greenpeace, Morrisons has now made similar commitments to those announced earlier this year UK supermarkets Sainsburys, Tesco, M&S, Waitrose and Asda, by promising to purchase tinned tuna caught using more sustainable FAD-free purse seine and “pole and line” methods by 2014. Morrisons has also announced that it will endorse Greenpeace’s call for the creation of large scale marine reserves in the Pacific (1). This landmark move by Morrisons and the other firms represents a hugh shift in the UK retail sector and will help ensure long-term tuna supplies.

“This decision by Morrisons is a not only a win for the oceans, it’s also a success for the millions of people who depend on tuna from those oceans for food and jobs”, said David Ritter, head of Greenpeace UK’s oceans campaign. “It has taken three months for the entire UK grocery sector to embrace sustainability. Now other tuna brands like John West must follow suit and create more responsible sourcing policies.”

Since the Greenpeace re-asserted its pressure on the UK retail sector in January, retailers have completely rejected a future of tuna caught using purse seine nets and Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), floating objects that naturally attract tuna to them are sometimes equipped with satellite-linked sonar. FADs attract a host of other species including sharks and turtles, as well as juvenile tuna that are scooped up by large nets that encircle them. These massive nets scoop everything in their paths out of the ocean, driving fish stock declines and putting the future of fish, the marine environment and the coastal communities all at risk.

“The tuna industry now faces a crucial question: will it continue fishing itself into extinction or will it listen to increasing consumer demand to improve its policies and embrace the vision we all share: a future of full nets and plates containing fish caught within sound scientific limits using responsible fishing methods,” added Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner.  “With politics failing to protect our oceans, action from the private sector is essential and long overdue. Sustainability is the way forward, one in which everyone wins.”

Just last week, Greenpeace gave a presentation at a major tuna conference in Seychelles outlining the need for cooperation between industry and oceans advocates. The Indian Ocean supplies the majority of tuna on UK supermarket shelves and Greenpeace urged the major tuna suppliers at the Seychelles meeting to embrace sustainability on the water now that consumers are demanding it in shops.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization working to reform the fishing industry and create a global network of marine reserves, both necessary steps to creating healthy, living oceans.

CONTACT: Sari Tolvanen (in Seychelles): +31 655 125 480

Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications, +31 643 787 359

NOTES:

(1)  Morrisons and other UK retailers have pledged not to source any tuna from large areas proposed as marine reserved and currently protected from purse seine fishing. More information can be found here: http://bit.ly/PacMReserveMap