This Tuesday is turning out to be big day of our tuna campaign.
This morning John West joined the global movement to phase out destructive tuna fishing methods and this evening a one hour documentary on our campaign to halt the decline in Pacific tuna stocks will premiere on prime time TV. And while this is all happening the countries which control tuna fishing in the Pacific are meeting in Manila to discuss measures to rescue the world’s largest tuna fisheries.
Let’s start with the John West news. It is the largest brand of canned tuna in Australia and following a six week campaign over there it has just pledged it will stop using destructive tuna fishing methods that needlessly kill sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles. This is good news for tuna, good news for other marine life and good news for Aussies and Kiwis as John West canned tuna is sold on both sides of the Tasman.
It’s not good news for Sealord which once again is being left behind as yet another company demonstrates what ‘sustainably caught tuna’ really means. John West is now the third of the five major tuna brands sold in New Zealand to respond to our campaign to end destructive tuna fishing using fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets. Foodstuffs has changed most of its Pams range of canned tuna to FAD-free and added a range of tuna caught by pole and line – a lower impact type of fishing. Greenseas, owned by Heinz in Australia, and also sold in New Zealand, has committed to phase out purse seine FAD-caught tuna by 2015.
Our global campaign started around 10 years ago and has involved us patrolling the Pacific to monitor what’s happening and at times to intervene. The Esperanza has just finished such a tour revealing illegal, unregulated and unsustainable fishing activity including 33 fish aggregating devices with 12 of them deployed illegally in Palau's waters.
If you find it hard to imagine how we do this sort of work, today's your lucky day. Last year when we were in the Pacific we were accompanied by a New Zealand documentary team and what they saw and filmed will be screened on TV1 tonight (Dec 4) at 7.30pm . It follows our Auckland-based Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas as she and the Esperanza crew patrol the Pacific high seas, battling plunder and piracy to save Pacific tuna stocks from destruction.