StarKist, Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea are scrambling to keep their dirty little secret under wraps – but it's too late.
All three companies sent us cease-and-desist letters in an effort to squash a 140-second animated parody depicting a fish, a bee, and a bad-tempered mermaid reveling in their destructive practices. Yes, that's right – they've made legal threats against Greenpeace over a cartoon.
Watch the video that these tuna companies don't want you to see.
Bumble Bee has even based some of its alleged claims on our statement that the company employs "destructive fishing methods." So, let me get this straight – are you saying that you're the kind of company that doesn't consider killing endangered turtles to be destructive? Because the longline vessels that catch your albacore do exactly that.
To compound matters, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) – a muck-dwelling seafood industry lobby group that has been backing the status quo on behalf of environmentally irresponsible bottom trawlers, longliners, and other companies for years – has apparently hired an outside consultancy to confuse the issue with a PR campaign targeting Greenpeace. It seems the old guard will stop at nothing when it comes to keeping their skeletons buried.
Rather than focusing on the real issues, these tuna companies and their proxies at NFI are trying to create a smoke screen and hide the real issues from consumers. Unfortunately for them, we have a right to know the reality behind our seafood options and to make informed and educated decisions at the seafood counter – and in the end, no corporate skullduggery or sleight-of-hand can change the fact that we have the truth on our side.
Fact: Purse seines that use fish aggregating devices (FADs) have bycatch rates up to 1000 percent higher than FAD-free purse seines.
Fact: Tuna longliners regularly kill turtles, sea birds, sharks, and other animals – hundreds of thousands of them a year.
Fact: FADs increase the incidental catch of baby bigeye and yellowfin tunas to an intolerable degree. Approximately 15-20 percent of canned “light” tuna that was caught by skipjack seiners in the Pacific Ocean is thought to actually be juveniles of these two highly vulnerable species.
Fact: Chicken of the Sea, StarKist, and Bumble Bee sell thousands of tons of tuna caught in FAD-associated purse seines and on longlines every year.
There's just no way around it.
I personally don't want to support any company that makes money off of dead sharks, turtles, and sea birds. There are better ways to catch tuna than with indiscriminate, highly destructive gear like traditional long-lines where no mitigations to avoid endangered bycatch is used.
A sustainable tuna industry is not only possible – it is absolutely necessary if we are to have healthy oceans in the coming years.
So, for those of you reading this who work for Bumble Bee, StarKist, Chicken of the Sea or NFI, hear this: we will not be silenced. Your legal chicanery will not dissuade us. The public deserves to know the truth, and your days of hiding your dirty little secret are over.