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

 

Enough is enough; we need to reclaim our seas and fisheries now

Blog entry by Duncan Williams | December 4, 2013

Greenpeace activists unfold a banner next to a cluster of foreign longline fishing vessels at a harbour in the Pacific reading “Fewer boats more fish WCPFC Act Now!” urging the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)...

The "longline" of suffering and destruction

Blog entry by Sari Tolvanen | November 21, 2013

Tuna longline fisheries are one of the most scandalous fishing businesses on the planet, operating mostly out of sight and out of control. Longlining is the fishing method that catches the big valuable tunas aimed at fulfilling the...

More fish in the sea

Blog entry by Duncan Williams | November 18, 2013

Our Pacific oceans campaign is focused on ensuring sustainable and equitable fishing in the Pacific. ©Paul Hilton/Greenpeace   Fishing in the pacific is, quite simply put, unfair. Pacific island countries receive a...

Real pirates plunder and steal

Blog entry by Szabina Mozes | October 21, 2013

It is now more than 30 days since our ship was seized and our 30 friends and colleagues were arrested. They now face a charge of piracy — an absurd charge that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence.  In the meantime pirate fishing...

Shark finning sucks. Sort it out New Zealand!

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | August 30, 2013

There’s nothing defensible about shark finning . It’s the marine equivalent of the poachers who kill rhinos to hack off their horns or kill elephants to hack off their tusks. It’s not dissimilar to killing bears or tigers for spurious...

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