Brussels Seafood Expo - Business Closed!

Greenpeace shuts down tuna trading

Feature story - 23 April, 2008
"Ladies and Gentlemen your attention please, the Dongwon, Mitsubishi, Moon Marine, Azzopardi and Ricardo Fuentes stalls are now closed." That was one message being relayed over the public address sound system at the Brussels Seafood Expo today, as Greenpeace closed down the stands of five tuna suppliers - including the world's largest, Mitsibushi.

Activists present message directly at an international seafood fair - "Time and Tuna are running out".

80 activists from 15 countries covered the stands with fishing nets, chained themselves to the stands and put up banners in 13 languages saying; 'Time and Tuna are running out'. They also stenciled the very simple "business closed" across many stands.

Listen to the messages we broadcast at the Expo. (mp3)

Not only is there no trading at all going on at the Ricardo Fuentes stand, where 30 people locked on, but trading across the fair was stopped as people flocked to the stand to see what was going on. Outside we relayed the same message to people coming into the conference.

World's largest seafood trading event

The Brussels Seafood Expo is the world's largest seafood trading event. If you want to see the world's remaining fish stocks literally served up on a plate, this is the place to come. 1,600 companies from 80 countries are trading their goods, alternatively known as global marine life.

We got our message out today directly to fish suppliers that unless fisheries go sustainable then neither those who trade in fish, nor our fish stocks, have a future.

There simply aren't enough fish left in the sea to sustain the world's voracious appetite. The world's oceans are in crisis. Some two-thirds of fish stocks are either fully exploited or overfished. Many stocks, such as Mediterranean bluefin tuna and North Sea cod are on the brink of collapse.

Fishing methods such as bottom trawling, purse seining, longlining, and industrial methods which can catch as much fish in two days as the fishers of small Pacific Island countries can catch in a year, are all threatening the sustainability and habitats of the oceans.

Much of the seafood on display at the Expo is either endangered or has been fished using destructive techniques. Or both.

Ending overfishing and destructive fishing is not only crucial to saving our marine environment, it is vital to the very survival of the fishing industry.

As we told traders today - going sustainable is the only way to ensure their business has a future. It's not rocket science. In fact it's really really simple; if you take more fish out of our oceans than can be replenished - fish stocks will collapse.

So Greenpeace has stopped trading of some of the most endangered species.

We have stopped business at Mitsubishi - the word's largest tuna trader, and at Ricardo Fuentes, who not only dominate the Med's bluefin tuna fishery but are also the biggest company involved in bluefin tuna ranching. 

Tuna Overkill

Dongwon is active in the Pacific - where our ship the Esperanza is currently confronting overfishing and pirate fishing, and calling for the creation of marine reserves to protect the Pacific Commons.

Consumers want sustainable fish

Over 80 percent of European consumers consider the environmental impacts of seafood as important to their purchasing decisions.

Greenpeace campaigns for seafood suppliers and retailers to ensure that they only source or buy seafood that has come from sustainable sources, and is not fished in destructive ways.

Our markets work across Europe has led to many supermarkets adopting sustainable procurement policies.

Consumers should not need to ask if the fish they want to buy is stolen or overfished - retailers need to ensure that no fish that reaches their shelves is stolen, or depleting the planet's future.

Greenpeace is calling for 40 percent of the world's oceans to be turned into marine reserves - national parks at sea. Marine reserves are areas closed to all extractive uses, including fishing and mining. In ocean areas that have already been protected, threatened species are returning and there is an overall increase in their variety.

Creating marine reserves will do a lot to make sustainable fishing goals achievable - and ultimately protect the future of the fishing industry.

Take Action

Our oceans are a part of Earth's life support system. Help protect them from overfishing by joining our call for a global network of marine reserves. If the ocean dies, our planet dies.


Help us create a global network of marine reserves by giving what you can.