Today we've released shocking footage of ocean life dying in gruesome ways at the hands of industrial tuna fishers in the Pacific Ocean. When I first saw it I was outraged by the obscene waste of ocean life shown and I think most New Zealanders will be too.
This is the same destructive fishing method used by the fishing fleets that supply Sealord, New Zealand's biggest canned tuna brand. The widespread use of fish aggregation devices (FADs) with purse seine nets is to blame for high levels of bycatch and even threatens the very future of the fishery itself by catching large numbers of baby tuna. Local tuna brands Pams and Greenseas know this and are phasing out tuna caught this way.
The footage was shot by a New Zealand helicopter pilot turned whistleblower, who undertook aerial reconnaissance for tuna boats in the Pacific in 2009. To protect the pilot from reprisals we've disguised his identity.
It is not for the faint hearted, but here is what many tuna fishing vessels bring up with their catch. This is what fishing on FADs looks like:
Our whistleblower says he witnessed scenes like this on an almost daily basis. He recalls the day when a whale was dragged on board the ship as one of the worst. Around the same time a small pod of dolphins was also caught and killed although he wasn't able to capture that on film.
During his interview he told us he was concerned about the impact FAD and purse seine fishing was having on other ocean life in the Pacific.
"When you see it happening all the time you just have to think how many are actually getting killed," he said.
It doesn't have to be this way. Greenpeace is working around the world to transform the tuna industry. We're making progress: the tuna industry in the UK has recognised that tuna fishing must change. All major tuna brands there have shifted or committed to shift to tuna caught by more sustainable methods.
In New Zealand Pams and Greenseas have committed to change. Pams FAD-free tuna is now being sold in supermarkets in the South Island and the Wellington region. Soon it will be available nation-wide.
But Sealord, New Zealand's largest canned tuna brand, is still canning tuna that was caught using this wasteful method. Tell Sealord it needs to change its tuna, too.
Please watch the video and share and take action with the tools provided here