Canned tuna's secret catch

Check out the fishing method that is being phased out by New Zealand’s big canned tuna brands.

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New Zealand’s five big tuna brands have committed to phase out a destructive tuna fishing method that kills sharks, turtles and baby tuna. This makes us the third country, behind the UK and Australia, to take steps to change to more sustainably caught tuna. This is good news for the Pacific tuna fishery which supplies most of New Zealand’s canned tuna. However, there is still more we can do to preserve tuna stocks and ensure we have tuna on our shelves, and in our Pacific Ocean, for the long-term:

  • The New Zealand Government must stand with our Pacific neighbours to ban the most destructive fishing methods, end overfishing and create marine reserves;

  • New Zealand’s tuna fishing companies must switch to more sustainable methods.

Until recently the Pacific had the world's last healthy tuna fisheries. These are now being overfished as industrial fishing fleets, which have exhausted tuna stocks in other oceans, are now concentrating their efforts in the Pacific.

All Pacific tuna stocks are in decline. Bigeye and yellowfin are the most at risk. Scientists have advised that fishing needs to be cut by up to 50 per cent to allow bigeye tuna to recover.

Many fishing fleets are using methods which are destructive catching five to 10 times more turtles, sharks and juvenile tuna compared to more sustainable fishing practices.

There are almost 6000 vessels licensed to fish in the Western and Central Pacific region. In 2012 those vessels caught over 2.6 million tonnes of tuna – around 60 per cent of the world’s tuna supply.

Foreign fishing vessels continue to steal tuna from the region, exploiting four pockets of international waters between Pacific islands nations. Illegal fishing is estimated to cost the Pacific region up to NZ$1.7 billion per year.

In 2013 we launched a report providing a blueprint for Pacific Island governments and regional bodies to promote a more sustainable and locally owned and operated tuna fishery in the region.

The report - titled Transforming Tuna Fisheries in Pacific Island Countries: An Alternative Model of Development makes detailed recommendations for how to develop smaller-scale and locally owned fisheries that will maximise economic returns, create local jobs and better protect countries’ precious tuna reserves for the long term.

The latest updates

 

Glimmer of hope for Pacific tuna

Feature story | December 15, 2008 at 2:52

The final outcome of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is too weak to stop overfishing of Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tuna. Pacific islanders are still at great risk from the collapse of this fishery. But the decision to close...

What sort of fisheries manager are you?

Blog entry by Nick | December 12, 2008

As the delegates at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting in Korea negotiate tuna into extinction. Our oceans team over there have been asking them to fill out this survey: WHAT SORT OF FISHERIES MANAGER ARE...

Sending out an SOS for Pacific tuna

Feature story | December 10, 2008 at 0:00

Our activists together with Korean environmental group KFEM created a huge human "SOS Tuna" banner on the shores of a beach in Busan, Korea, as a key regional meeting in Korea began this week. This extremely critical meeting will decide the fate...

Pacific solidarity essential to save tuna stocks

Press release | November 28, 2008 at 2:47

New Zealand must support efforts by other Pacific countries to stop the plunder of tuna by foreign fishing boats if the region is to avoid a similar collapse to that of the northern tuna fisheries, says Greenpeace.

Japanese whaling ship outlawed

Feature story | October 30, 2008 at 21:23

Yet another nail has been put in the coffin of Japan's dying whaling industry. We've managed to get the Oriental Bluebird, re-supply and transport ship of Japan’s whaling fleet, de-flagged and fined, following a legal ruling by Panamanian...

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