Pacific plunder

As industrial fishing fleets exhaust tuna stocks around the globe more and more are heading to the Pacific in search of a disappearing resource. There are almost 6000 vessels licensed to fish for tuna in the Pacific and in 2012 around 2.6 million tonnes of Pacific tuna were caught – that’s about 60 per cent of the world’s supply of tuna. However, overfishing means tuna stocks are being caught faster than they can replenish.

This plunder of the Pacific is impacting on the health of our ocean, the future of tuna in the region and of Pacific island countries and their people which rely on the fisheries economically and as an essential source of food.

Pacific bigeye and yellowfin are already in serious trouble. Two years ago scientists advised that fishing needed to be cut by up to 50 per cent to allow bigeye tuna to recover. In New Zealand we’re noticing the reduced numbers of yellowfin arriving in our coastal waters from the Pacific, especially long the east coast of the North Island. The Whakatane Sportsfishing Club has removed the word ‘tuna’ from the name of one of its annual tournaments as tuna are no longer being caught.

Destructive fishing practices are wiping out tuna stocks as well as other marine species. The main method of catching skipjack tuna (the most common species you’ll find on supermarket shelves) is one of the worst offenders. Fishing fleets use floating death traps to attract schools of tuna - fish aggregation devices (FADs) - then scoop up everything in the area with huge purse seine nets. The indiscriminate catch includes tuna so young that they haven't had a chance to reproduce as well as unwanted species including sharks and turtles which are thrown back into the sea dead or dying. This method of using death trap FADs, along with purse seine nets, catches up to ten times more unwanted species than more sustainable practices.

Pirate fishing is also rampant in high value tuna fisheries, literally stealing tuna from the plates of some of the poorest people in the world. Illegal fishing is estimated to cost the Pacific region up to NZ$1.7 billion per year.

But even the legal tuna fisheries are part of the robbery. The way that foreign fishing nations and rich multinational corporations negotiate with Pacific Island countries for access to fish tuna in their waters is incredibly unfair. Only around five per cent of the value of the tuna is given to the resource owners, often denying coastal communities much-needed employment and perpetuating irresponsible fishing.

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 latest updates

 

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...

The EnvironmentaLIST: The worst things the tuna industry does to our oceans

Blog entry by Cassady Sharp | August 13, 2013

When what you do is hundreds of miles from civilization, it’s pretty easy to get away with some messed up stuff.  The tuna industry in particular can reap the benefits of an “out of sight, out of mind” existence. Here are some of the...

Pacific Island countries to surf the sustainable tuna wave

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | August 8, 2013

You can be confident that the Fair Trade coffee you grab on the way to work helps support local coffee producers in countries from Tanzania to Costa Rica. Sadly, right now the same can’t be said for the tinned tuna on your sandwich...

Sealord’s change of tuna

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | May 30, 2013

Finally, some long-awaited news: New Zealand’s biggest tuna brand, Sealord, has acknowledged that destructive fish aggregating devices are OUT and more sustainable fishing methods are IN. The company announced yesterday afternoon that...

United we sail – Mauritian fishermen, Greenpeace protest against overfishing

Blog entry by Oliver Knowles | May 7, 2013

This week, politicians, scientists and fisheries managers from around the world are coming to Mauritius to attend the annual Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) meeting. This organisation is charged by governments to protect tuna...

Pull the other one Sealord

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | April 3, 2013

It seems that Sealord thinks we all came down in the last shower and are prepared to believe whatever line they spin in defence of unsustainable canned tuna. A few weeks ago, Sealord started pushing canned yellowfin tuna with a TV ad...

How much scandal can fit in one can of tuna?

Blog entry by Casson Trenner | March 25, 2013

ID: GP02HWGAirship Canned Tuna Banner ActionThe Greenpeace airship A.E. Bates flies  by the La Jolla peninsula near the headquarters of Chicken of the Sea canned tuna company to call attention to overfishing and bycatch issues. ...

The global tuna industry is increasingly an industry divided

Blog entry by Oliver Knowles | March 22, 2013

The recent news from Australia that Aldi, the last of the major companies in that market holding out against introducing sustainable tuna, has now decided to join the growing band of progressive companies delivering sustainable tuna to...

Ocean Expeditions 2012

Publication | February 21, 2013 at 2:57

In 2012, the Rainbow Warrior undertook a 9-week expedition through the Indian Ocean's fishing grounds, and the Esperanza undertook a 3-week expedition in Pacific Commons Area 1 and the EEZ of Palau. Both expeditions documented fishing operations;...

Sealord takes a step but still at the back of the pack

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | January 31, 2013

For close to two years we’ve been asking Sealord, New Zealand’s largest brand of canned tuna, to stop selling tuna which is caught using a method that destroys countless marine creatures, including sharks, baby tuna and turtles. ...

11 - 20 of 89 results.

Categories