Tuna is the world's favourite fish. It's not about ending fishing, it's about better fishing.
We need to reduce the amount of tuna being caught in the Pacific. The first, and most important, steps are banning destructive fishing practices and creating ‘no fishing’ zones or marine reserves.
Even though the tuna industry appears to be fishing itself to death it’s not going to stop.
Most of the tuna sold in New Zealand is caught by foreign fleets and processed overseas, usually Thailand, then sold as brands like Sealord, John West and Greenseas or as supermarket “own brands” like Pams and Home Brand.
In 2011 we started urging New Zealand’s five big brands of canned tuna to stop sourcing tuna caught using a fishing method that kills sharks, turtles and baby tuna. The method combines fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets, creating a deathtrap for about 200,000 tonnes of other marine life every year.
By early 2013 all the big tuna brands had responded to our campaign by promising to stop selling tuna caught this way, making New Zealand the third country behind the UK and Australia to do so.
Pams and Fish 4 Ever are already offering FAD-free and more sustainable pole and line caught tuna. Sealord, Greenseas, John West and Countdown’s own brands have promised to do similar by 2015.
Two of New Zealand's biggest fishing companies, Talley's and Sanford, also fish for tuna in the Pacific. We’re calling on these companies to stop using destructive fishing methods.
Creating marine reserves in international waters between Pacific islands and closing them to all fishing will allow tuna stocks to regenerate and protect biodiversity. Four areas in the Pacific have already been identified. Eight Pacific countries known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) have taken steps to protect these waters from purse seine fishing, however international support and further protection is needed.
We are also urging our Government to support a ban on the use of death trap FADs in purse seine fisheries to prevent the needless killing of marine life caused by this indiscriminate fishing method.