Workers at a tuna packing plant resting on boxes for export.

Fair fisheries

Industrial fishing fleets have decimated and almost destroyed their own fisheries and now, rather than accept that they need to reduce their fishing capacity, fishing fleets are turning greedy eyes towards the Pacific and West Africa.

Rather than fix the problem at home, fishing fleets from the North are taking their problems into the relatively healthy oceans in the South. The future of these oceans, and of the coastal communities whose livelihoods depend from it, are increasingly at the mercy of unscrupulous fishers and a growing global appetite for tuna.

The Western and Central Pacific Ocean is home to over 20 island nations and the world's largest tuna fishery. More than half of the world's tuna supply, about two million tonnes each year, comes from this region .It has recently become clear that some of the key target species are in danger of being overfished, so far from being one of the last healthy fisheries in the world, it is being increasingly preyed upon by distant nations and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) pirate fishing - boats that take as much fish as they like.

Ripping off the Pacific communities

Pacific people have fished the ocean for thousands of years, managing traditional fishing grounds in a sustainable way. Today a fleet of locally based vessels, owned by foreign and local companies, catch about 200,000 tonnes (10 percent of the total catch) of tuna a year. But increasing numbers of industrial distant water fishing boats are moving into the Pacific, taking about 1,800,000 tonnes (90 percent ofthe total catch). Instead of reducing their fishing effort and the number of boats when they fish out their own fishing grounds, countries like China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the USA and the EU simply move on to the next fishing ground - the Pacific.

To make matters worse, the practice is also financially exploitative - the economic return from access fees and licences to the region is a mere 5 percent or less of the US$2 billion the fish is worth on the market. Of course, the returns from pirate fishing are non-existent. Pirate fishing boats do not comply with any rules and only disadvantage the region.

The Pacific is at a crossroads. One path leads to sustainable and equitable fisheries, a healthy marine environment and stable and prosperous island communities. The other path leads to the collapse of the major tuna fishery and loss of livelihood and food supply for the people of the Pacific.

The latest updates


We have the power to change the tuna industry for good

Blog entry by Ephraim Batungbacal | December 6, 2018

Sustainably Caught Canned Tuna Pams pole and line caught canned tuna. Pams is the home brand for Foodstuffs, one of New Zealand's two main supermarket companies. Foodstuffs introduced pole and line tuna to its Pams range in 2011...

From Sea to Can: 2018 Southeast Asia Canned Tuna Ranking

Publication | December 5, 2018 at 8:15

Greenpeace is running an international campaign to steer the global tuna industry towards more environmentally and socially responsible sourcing.

Stopping Thai Union from trashing our seas

Blog entry by Arifsyah Nasution | May 17, 2016

I’m onboard the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, in the Western Indian Ocean on an important tuna quest. Tuna is probably the most popular seafood commodity out there. People eat it for a number of reasons, mostly as a convenient and...

All aboard - The Seafood Week, Oceans Conservation and the 2016 Elections

Blog entry by Vince Cinches | February 21, 2016

These past few days, the public saw the country’s premier hotels and restaurants inviting their patrons to join them in saving the oceans by scrutinizing the seafood that are served and consumed.  The decision of the hospitality...

What do you mean it's #NotJustTuna?

Blog entry by Jezreel Belleza | November 21, 2015

Do you know what's in our tuna cans? It's a ridiculous question because it really should be just tuna , right? Well, these tuna fishers say otherwise — “...We are not being treated as humans, but more like animals.”   ...

Tuna Cannery Ranking

Publication | November 12, 2015 at 17:49

Greenpeace Southeast Asia believes that consumers have a right to know where and how their tuna was caught. Modern consumers who are aware of their impact on the planet want to play a key role in preserving tuna resources for the enjoyment of...

Ranking of 9 local tuna canneries revealed

Image gallery | October 2, 2015

Briefing Paper: Forum on Fish Aggregating Devices

Publication | September 3, 2014 at 13:10

Fish aggregating devices (FADs), called payao in the Philippines and rumpon in Indonesia, are large floating objects deployed by fishing vessels to attract fish and make easier the task of finding and catching them. FADs work because tuna and a...

Enough is enough; we need to reclaim our seas and fisheries now

Blog entry by Duncan Williams | December 3, 2013

Greenpeace activists unfold a banner next to a cluster of foreign longline fishing vessels at a harbour in the Pacific reading “Fewer boats more fish WCPFC Act Now!” urging the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)...

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