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

 

Fishermen confirm shark finning on tuna longliners

Blog entry by Dan Salmon | August 22, 2015

The cruel yet lucrative shark fin trade is back in the  headlines  and it's clearly something people care deeply about, public pressure and a  petition  signed by nearly 180,000 people, prompted shipping giant United Parcel Service...

Desperately Seeking: South Pacific Albacore tuna

Blog entry by Dr Cat Dorey | August 7, 2015

There's a tendency, outside my science world at least, to talk about 'tuna' as if it was one species of fish. In fact tuna is a generic name for a whole bunch of tuna and mackerel species. As well as the main commercial species of...

These Are the Videos the Tuna Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Blog entry by John Hocevar | July 29, 2015

Today, we're releasing five new video testimonials from Pacific tuna fishermen detailing the horrible conditions they've worked under. The interviews—conducted in a South Pacific port earlier this year—reveal incidents of abuse,...

There’s slavery in the seafood industry. Here’s what we can do about it.

Blog entry by David Pinsky | July 22, 2015

There’s no easy way to say this:  The seafood at your local supermarket may be connected to slavery.  It’s heartbreaking. Fishing operators  in over 50 countries  around the world are crewing ships through human trafficking networks...

Sharks butchered for questionable cure-all

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | June 2, 2015

It’s a macabre case spanning continents. A European vessel crewed by under paid and ill-treated Indonesian fishermen turned up in the port of Suva this week. Meanwhile, an illegal shipment of sharks, shark fins and other fish from...

Risky Business: Don't put your money in unsustainable fishing

Blog entry by Nina Thuellen | April 22, 2015

When we trust a bank with our savings and investments, we assume the bank will do only "good" with our hard-earned cash. Yet throughout Europe, and the world, major banks have ploughed massive amounts of money into unsustainable...

Brand new purse seiner raises alarm

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | March 17, 2015

With tuna stocks in trouble and too many fishing boats chasing what's left, reports of new vessels are a cause for alarm. The global fishing fleet is estimated to be two and a half times the size needed to sustainably fish our oceans,...

Sustainable St... #WCPFC turn here!

Blog entry by Lagi Toribau | December 5, 2014

Fish don’t talk, but if they did they'd be asking the Pacific Tuna Commission just how rare they need to become before anyone will step in to save them." Fish don’t talk, but fishing industry people do… operational level data. FAD ban...

How 30 Climate Warriors took on the world’s biggest coal port

Blog entry by Rosie Dickison | October 28, 2014

It’s no secret that I am an emotional person, and that nothing inspires me more than people standing up for what they believe in. Last week, as the Pacific Climate Warriors led a flotilla in the world’s largest coal port – even the...

How Greenpeace may be about to stop US$150 million getting into a dodgy fishing company

Blog entry by Elsa Lee | October 17, 2014

Seeing Greenpeace in the leading headline of Hong Kong's most prestigious financial newspaper is not something I am used to! But if you knew why, you would see how your support is bringing companies engaged in overfishing to their...

1 - 10 of 96 results.

Categories