Our fast-moving international campaign to make tinned tuna sustainable took another big step forward this week as we began a push on Canada’s largest tinned tuna brand Clover Leaf. The company currently uses an extremely destructive fishing method - purse seining using Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) - which catches other marine species like sharks, rays and turtles and tuna from stocks that are highly overfished, in addition to the target fish. This shamelessly wasteful capture, known as bycatch, is helping to take too many fish out of our oceans and all too often, from the coastal communities that need them most.

Our campaign to clean up tinned tuna has already made a huge amount of progress, especially in the UK where major retailers like Tesco (the world’s 3rd largest retailer) and ASDA (Walmart) and brands like Princes (Mitsubishi) have already committed to phasing out the use of destructive and wasteful fishing with FADs. In its place they are moving to the more sustainable practice of pole and line fishing or fishing without the use of FADs. To date, all but one of the major brands of tinned tuna available in the UK have switched to, or committed to, sustainable fishing methods. These include other major UK retailers such as Sainsburys, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Co-op. Only one dinosaur stands out – John West, who so far have resolutely refused to abandon their use of FADs. With so many other more sustainable options for UK consumers, John West look increasingly isolated as a defender of destructive fishing.

Support for Marine Reserves

As well as changing their fishing practices, many of these companies are also publicly supporting the Pacific Commons marine reserves, by committing to not source fish from these regions. Together with Pacific Island nations we’ve been helping to build support for these huge marine reserves – and getting big players in the UK, Australia and Germany to sign up is a huge step forward in helping to protect these important ocean sites, so vital for safeguarding marine life and protecting the food supplies of the Pacific Island nations.

Clover Leaf – time to act

As our campaign steps up in Canada, it is time for Clover Leaf to follow the lead of other major players in the tinned tuna industry. We’re asking Clover Leaf to quit destructive fishing by signing up to phase out FADs, to not fish in the Pacific Commons, and to remove yellowfin tuna from its cans. Greenpeace Canada activists were out and about on Thursday in Vancouver and Montreal handing out tuna-less tins with information inside describing the wasted marine life associated with Clover Leaf tuna.

The expansion of our campaign for healthy, living oceans in to Canada will help keep the issue of destructive fishing firmly at the top of the tinned tuna industry’s agenda. With your help, we can persuade Clover Leaf to make the changes made by other major brands and retailers in support of sustainable fishing and marine reserves and deliver the ocean friendly products that consumers want.

Take action today. Support Greenpeace Canada's campaign by sending a message to Clover Leaf's CEO Chris Lischewski on their website contact page to demand ocean-friendly tuna.

Sarah King is an Oceans campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.

Photo: A turtle and a FAD in the East Pacific Ocean. © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace