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

 

Defending the Pacific - Part 4: The Esperanza and Goliath

Blog entry by Greg | May 27, 2008

Greenpeace activists deploy banner reading, "No Fish No Future" next to the world's biggest tuna fishing vessel Albatun Tres. Greenpeace has been highlighting the overfishing of tuna in the Pacific for the past two months.

Pacific islands act to save tuna

Feature story | May 21, 2008 at 0:00

Finally, some good news for tuna stocks and a first step towards protecting the Pacific Commons for future generations! Eight Pacific island countries have taken the most significant action ever to combat overfishing in the region.

Pirate of the Pacific busted by Greenpeace

Feature story | May 12, 2008 at 0:00

We caught an illegal tuna purse seiner (Queen Evelyn 168) in the Pacific Commons yesterday. This Philippines-flagged vessel was close to the transfer of tuna between her sister vessel and a refrigerated mothership. It was likely that transfer of...

Defending the Pacific - Part 2

Blog entry by Nick | May 1, 2008

From the Esperanza in the Pacific ... Family members sell tuna at the market in Honiara © Paul Hilton/Greenpeace The Esperanza has just left Honiara in the Solomon Islands where I joined the ship so that we can keep...

Time's running out for tuna

Feature story | April 20, 2008 at 22:35

Tuna stocks in the Pacific are running out due to overfishing from illegal and commercial fishing fleets.

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