Kiwi brands receive Greenpeace award for tuna sustainability on World Oceans Day

Press release - June 8, 2012
Auckland, 8 June 2012 – Greenpeace has marked World Oceans Day (1) by presenting its first-ever tuna sustainability awards to two New Zealand brands.

At separate events this morning Greenpeace presented the awards to Foodstuffs Own Brands Limited – producer of the Pams brand, and Ceres Enterprises which distributes the Fish 4 Ever brand.  The awards recognise that both companies have introduced more sustainably caught canned tuna products to the New Zealand market within the last 12 months.

Following on from the presentation Greenpeace volunteers are informing and offering supermarket shoppers in six locations a chance to change their tuna if they missed the sustainable options while shopping today.(2)

Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas said Foodstuffs and Ceres had been quick to respond to customer demands urging New Zealand brands to stop sourcing destructively caught tuna.

“It takes leadership and commitment to move towards the sustainable fishing methods which are essential to protecting our oceans for the next generations,” she said.

“These two companies are taking real steps to protect tuna fisheries from overfishing and destructive fishing methods which catch endangered sharks, juvenile tuna and even turtles.”

In response to the Greenpeace commendation the General Manager for Foodstuffs Own Brands, Dave McAteer said the company was proud to be leading the way towards tuna sustainability in the New Zealand canned tuna market.

“We are always working with suppliers to source products in a sustainable way, and in 2011 we clearly listened to New Zealanders’ concerns about the way canned tuna in particular was being sourced. Our customers encouraged us to switch our Pams standard and flavoured tuna to FAD-free and in addition we decided to offer pole and line caught canned tuna options,” he said.

Ceres Managing Director Noel Josephson said; “People around the world are increasingly aware of the sustainability issue and are looking to change their buying habits. We are proud to be able to offer New Zealanders a sustainable tuna option.” (3)

One of the key culprits in destructive tuna fishing is a fishing method which involves vessels using fish aggregating devices (FADs) to lure tuna, but which also attract unwanted species collectively known as bycatch. Tuna and bycatch are scooped up in large purse seine nets from which little escapes.

“It’s a shameful waste with up to 10 times more bycatch compared to more sustainable methods like pole and line fishing.”(4)

Over the last 12 months Foodstuffs has changed most of its Pams range to FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna. Ceres introduced pole and line caught tuna under the Fish 4 Ever label. Australian owned Greenseas has also committed to shift to FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna by 2015.

Thomas said the move by New Zealand canned tuna companies mirrored similar shifts in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA (5) and that Greenpeace would continue its campaign for New Zealand’s largest tuna brand Sealord to follow the shift to sustainable tuna.

“It’s very disappointing Sealord is lagging behind local brands and the rest of the world on sustainability. We’d like to see them up their game and quit the use of FAD-caught tuna,” she said.

Most of New Zealand’s canned tuna comes from the Pacific which, until recently, had the world's last healthy tuna fisheries. These are now under threat as industrial fishing fleets, which have exhausted tuna stocks in other oceans, are concentrating their efforts in the Pacific.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a network of marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health.


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Notes to Editor


On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate the world’s oceans and their personal connection to the sea. The day is promoted and co-ordinated by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network. The theme for this year is Youth: the Next Wave for Change as the future of ocean conservation is in their hands.

2)      Greenpeace supporters are running ‘Change Your Tuna’ activities Auckland, Cambridge, Kawerau, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

3)      Declaration of interest – Noel Josephson is a board member of Greenpeace New Zealand.