Greenpeace has welcomed news that Sealord will phase out a destructive tuna fishing method that kills sharks, turtles and baby tuna.
Sealord announced this afternoon that it plans to remove the method from its supply chain of canned skipjack tuna by early 2014. Currently Sealord buys much of its tuna from boats using purse seine nets set on fish aggregating devices (FADs). These floating lures attract far more than adult tuna and this destructive method is globally responsible for catching about 200,000 tonnes of other marine life every year.
Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas says the Sealord announcement is another important step towards protecting the marine environment and halting the decline of Pacific tuna stocks, the main source of canned tuna sold in New Zealand.
"This is great news, and makes the weekly supermarket shop easier for mums and dads everywhere, who can now have more confidence that their canned tuna won't be caught using methods that can kill sharks, turtles and baby tuna," says Thomas.
“It’s a real reflection of the changing market reality. Gone are the days of being able to peddle unsustainable tuna which costs the oceans far more than the price on the can.”
Two years ago Greenpeace launched a campaign calling on New Zealand’s five big brands of canned tuna to stop destructive tuna fishing. Since then thousands of Greenpeace supporters contacted Sealord urging the company to “change your tuna”.
A similar campaign targeting tuna brands in Australia started last year. Today’s announcement by Sealord means all the big Australasian tuna brands have now committed to phase out FAD-caught tuna. The same changes have already been announced by all the major tuna brands and retailers in the UK as well as the Safeway supermarket chain in the US.
In New Zealand, Pams and Fish 4 Ever are now offering New Zealand shoppers FAD-free and more sustainable pole and line caught tuna. Greenseas. John West and Countdown’s own brands will be changing within the next three years.
"We'd like Sealord to make the ban on FADs permanent as any re-introduction will only contribute to overfishing problems in the Pacific," says Thomas.