Greenpeace publishes criteria for red-listed seafood

Press release - 17 June, 2008
Greenpeace today launched a new seafood campaign website, publishing its 'Red Grade' Criteria for Unsustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture. Greenpeace has used the criteria to create an international red list of seafood species at high risk of being sourced from overfished stocks or having been caught using destructive fishing methods, or both. Greenpeace calls on companies not to trade in red-listed seafood unless they can prove that the fish stocks they source from are in a healthy state, and are not fished using destructive techniques.

The website also provides background information on the overfishing crisis and advice for industry and retailers on sustainable seafood sourcing policies. Greenpeace offices in Spain, the US and Canada are also launching national red lists and / or assessments of national retailer seafood procurement policies today(1).

 "Global fish stocks are in crisis, and the seafood industry is fishing itself towards extinction. Retailers and processors must move to sustainable seafood purchasing policies and stop sourcing red-listed species," said Nina Thuellen, Greenpeace International Seafood Markets Campaigner. "Our seafood website provides the tools they need to do this. The international red list highlights key species they need to take action on now."

Greenpeace's international seafood red list includes 20 seafood species at high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries, including species such as tuna, cod and shark.

Criteria for red-listing wild-caught fish include:

  • the species has a life history that makes it vulnerable to overexploitation
  • the species is sourced from overfished and depleted stocks, or is being fished at such high levels the stock will soon be overfished
  • the fishing methods used to catch the species are highly destructive to other marine life and/or marine habitats(2).

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of fully-protected marine reserves covering 40% of our oceans as an essential way to protect our seas from the ravages of climate change, to restore the health of fish stocks, and to protect ocean life from habitat destruction and collapse. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is currently in the Mediterranean confronting overfishing of endangered bluefin tuna, and calling for a network of marine reserves. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has recently wrapped up a tour of the Pacific calling for the creation of marine reserves in the Pacific Commons.

Other contacts: Evandro Oliveira, Greenpeace International Communications:
+31 6 535 04718

Nina Thuellen, Greenpeace International - Seafood Markets Campaigner:
+43 664 5484553

Cat Dorey, Greenpeace International - Scientific Researcher:
+44 773 301 7863

Notes: 1. The first Greenpeace seafood red list was published in the UK in 2005. Since then, red lists and/or retailer rankings have been published in France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Industry and retailers whose own countries have red lists should refer to these. 2. Greenpeace regards explosives or poisons, demersal otter trawling, beam trawling, and dredging as inherently destructive fishing methods.