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

 

Greenpeace urges Cairns tuna summit to end overfishing and control fleets

Press release | December 2, 2013 at 8:38

Suva - Greenpeace activists yesterday deployed a floating banner at a harbour in the Pacific, reading: “Fewer boats more fish WCPFC Act Now!”

Longline fisheries are out of line – Greenpeace

Press release | November 21, 2013 at 12:17

Auckland – The world's longline tuna fisheries are out of control, and distant water fishing powers and Pacific island countries need to increase their management and oversight, Greenpeace warns in a new report launched today.

Sealord lonely cheerleader for deadly fishing method

Press release | March 20, 2013 at 12:31

Auckland, 20 March 2013 – Sealord is now the only big Australasian canned tuna brand which has refused to stop using a destructive fishing method which kills sharks, juvenile tuna and turtles, Greenpeace warned today.

Tuna plunder to continue as governments fail to clamp down on overfishing – Greenpeace

Press release | December 10, 2012 at 14:19

Auckland, 8 December 2012 - Governments charged with protecting fish stocks in the Pacific are allowing the continued plunder of the region's declining bigeye tuna stocks while also putting yellowfin, skipjack and albacore tuna at risk of...

John West cans destructive fishing, Sealord urged to do the same

Press release | December 4, 2012 at 15:23

Auckland, 4 December 2012 – Greenpeace says Sealord must follow its competitor, Australian brand John West, which has just announced it will stop using destructive tuna fishing methods that needlessly kill sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles.

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