The Greenpeace campaign to protect Pacific tuna stocks from overfishing has been given a boost with the arrival of the Fin Brothers. We caught up with Clark (the brains) and Bruce (who refers to himself as the good looking one), during some brief downtime in their hectic schedule, to talk about tuna, movies and sundried tomatoes.
GP: So guys, welcome to New Zealand. What brings you here?
Bruce: Ocean currents (laughs).
Clark: Thanks Bruce I’ll handle this one. We’ve seen a lot of problems in tuna fisheries around the world so I guess you could call us tuna experts. We never really expected to be down here though as the Pacific used to have a reputation for being the last relatively healthy tuna fishery. However, that’s changing fast. Scientists are warning that catches of Pacific tuna need to be cut by up to 50 per cent to allow species to recover.
GP: So what are you going to do?
Clark: First and foremost we’re letting Kiwis know that most of the canned tuna they buy comes from the Pacific and that those stocks are being threatened by overfishing. It’s surprising, but not many people know either of those facts.
Bruce: Yep, that’s what we’re here to tell them but how do the tuna brands get the sundried tomato and basil into those little cans?
Clark: (Abridged). Thank you Bruce.
GP: So, you’re targeting Sealord, New Zealand’s largest brand of canned tuna, and asking the company to change its tuna because this will make a difference to what’s happening in the Pacific?
Clark: That’s right. Sealord gets its tuna from companies which are using indiscriminate and wasteful fishing methods. One of the worst is when fish aggregation devices – also known as FADs - are used in combination with purse seine nets. FADs attract all sorts of ocean life, not just tuna. FADs used with purse seine nets increase bycatch up to 10 times more than other more sustainable fishing methods.
Bruce: C’mon Clark you’re sooo boring. FADs used that way are bad. You can quote me on that. Like Clark was saying FADs attract everything. Our mates, the odd turtle - some of my best friends are turtles - and teeny weeny tuna that are still swimming around with their L plates. Its bad, it’s sad, it make me mad, never glad. Look, I’m rapping. Just call me the Brucemeister.
GP: Yes, we’ve noticed you’re a bit of an extrovert. We also hear the Fin Brothers are working on a movie?
Clark: Not a movie, as such, more a series of short videos. The first two episodes are out already and we’ll be releasing more over the coming weeks.
Bruce: I’ve been told I’m the next Bruce Willis.
Bruce: Or maybe even the next Bruce Lee because I act and do my own stunts. Did someone say Oscar?
GP: So what does Sealord need to do to get you off their case?
Clark: Simple. Really simple. They need to change to sustainably caught tuna. They’re making a big deal about it saying it’s too difficult. It’s not. Foodstuffs has already announced it will be changing most of its Pams range of canned tuna to FAD-free by the end of the year. If Sealord was serious about sustainability, like it claims, it would do the same.
Bruce: Yep, they should be treating this as a hurdle not an opportunity. Or should that be the other way around?
Clark: Definitely the other way around. All but one of the main canned tuna brands in the UK, like Foodstuffs here, have seen this as great chance to show their customers they offer a sustainable option. I’m sure Sealord will come around. They just need a bit of encouragement from two sharks and an increasing number of Kiwis who care about what’s happening in the Pacific.
GP: Thanks guys. We’re all looking forward to seeing how the campaign develops.
Bruce: In that case, check us out at www.facebook.com/finbrothers. See Clark. Told you I'd get a free plug in at the end.