Greenseas going ‘greener’

Feature story - October 31, 2011
Good news for tuna and other ocean creatures! A second major canned tuna brand has announced it will be phasing out tuna caught using a fishing method which kills large quantities of other marine life.


This indiscriminate method involves purse seine nets being set around fish aggregation devices (FADs). 

FADs are like a large floating lure. In addition to the tuna, they also attract other ocean life –such as threatened sharks, baby tuna and even the occasional turtle – which, along with the tuna, are then scooped up in the huge purse seine nets. The unwanted species, known as bycatch, are usually thrown back injured, dead or dying. FADs increase the bycatch of purse seine fisheries up to 10 times more than other more sustainable methods.

Back in April, we started asking New Zealand’s five main tuna brands to stop using tuna caught this way and to change to more sustainably caught tuna. Since then 16,055 messages have been sent to tuna companies asking them to switch to more sustainably caught tuna.

Two weeks ago Greenseas (which is based in Australia but sells tuna in NZ) committed to shift to ‘greener’ tuna by phasing out FAD-caught tuna over the next three years.  This makes it the second brand to respond to our ‘change your tuna’ campaign. Earlier in the year local retailer Foodstuffs announced – on world oceans day, no less – that most of its Pams brand tuna would be sourced from pole and line or FAD-free fisheries by the end of this year

That leaves Sealord, New Zealand’s largest canned tuna brand, dragging their heels along with Australian brand John West and the own brands of Countdown and Woolworth supermarkets. These companies are financially supporting the senseless waste of ocean life by buying tuna from fleets that set nets around fish aggregation devices – killing much more than just tuna in the process.

Sealord, which makes out it is big on sustainability and uses the slogan ‘Seafood Experts’, should have been the leader and the first to change. It may have missed that boat, but it’s not too late to change – Foodstuffs, Greenseas and a host of overseas tuna brands have already paved the way and shown its possible to source tuna from cleaner fisheries.

You can encourage Sealord to join the movement to sustainably caught tuna by sending the company an email now.