Last Saturday, a group of blue-clad ocean lovers paraded around Orange Circle Antique Mall in Orange, California calling on Chicken of the Sea to drop their destructive fishing practices. The group was headed up by a bloody-mouthed mermaid and a life-size yellowfin tuna dancing to calypso music. Passersby and folks dining in outdoor cafes were given paper fish with the mysterious url tunasecrets.com. The paraders held signs like “Stop Pirate Fishing” and “End Ocean Destruction Now.” Several people asked to take pictures with the mermaid and tuna, although they had to stand between the two to keep the hungry mermaid from sinking her teeth into that tasty juvenile yellowfin.
This was the second mermaid parade to hit the streets of Orange County, and the latest in a series of carnivalesque marches in cities across the country exposing the destructive fishing practices of America’s major tuna supplier Chicken of the Sea. The company uses indiscriminate methods of fishing like longlines and fish aggregating devices. Countless sharks, billfish, baby yellowfin tuna, and juvenile bigeye tuna (a species listed as at high risk for extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) are killed by their use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets in the production of “chunk light” tuna. Thousands of turtles, sea birds, sharks, and other animals are slaughtered on indiscriminate conventional longlines in the company’s hunt for albacore – or “solid white” – tuna.
Hopefully the next parade will not be about the albatross, sharks, and sea turtles that are slaughtered in pursuit of tuna melts and tuna salad. Hopefully the next parade will be in celebration of America’s largest tuna company adopting more sustainable methods of fishing – FAD free purse seine nets and pole and line. Come on, Chicken of the Sea, be a responsible leader in your industry!