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I love it when a plan comes together.

Today we stepped up the pressure on Foodtown to get serious about putting in place a policy that would ensure it will only sell truly sustainable seafood.

We’ve just returned from the Quay St Foodtown in downtown Auckland where two of our activists hung a large banner above the front entrance of the store. The seven metre long banner was painted in the Foodtown blue and white and we used the same font so it appeared that today their company motto was ‘Foodtown costing us our oceans?’

Last week we attempted to attach a much longer banner with the same message on the hull of an orange roughy bottom trawler which we’d chained to the wharf in Auckland to stop it leaving port. That one didn’t go quite as planned because the fisherman on board managed to wrestle it from us before it was fully unraveled.

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As a result the team had an anxious wait for today’s banner to be deployed. This time everything went smoothly and the result was perfect. And just to make sure passersby were aware we’d changed the signage we hung Sad Fish, our mascot for the Save our Seas campaign alongside in a bottom trawl net.

While all this has happening a team, along with a second Sad Fish went into the store to talk with shoppers and ask for a meeting with the manager. He appeared a little reluctant at first (“tied up in a meeting, sorry”) but changed his mind once he was aware two people were on his roof hanging things off the front of his building.

With Sad Fish looking on miserably, he met with Chris Harris our campaign director at the front entrance and under our banner.

Chris had two asks. Implement a sustainable seafood policy and remove seafood from sale which appears on the Greenpeace Red List, especially orange roughy which is caught by destructive bottom trawling. He also made it known that the actions over the last week were part of a continuing campaign to encourage the owners of Foodtown, Progresssive Enterprises, as well as New Zealand’s other supermarket company, Foodstuffs, to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

While the manager didn’t make any pledges he certainly got the message loud and clear, as will the rest of New Zealand’s supermarkets, that its time to get serious about protecting our oceans from overfishing and destructive fishing practices.

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