PH may lose tuna markets

Report shows global markets demanding sustainable tuna

Press release - March 27, 2012
Guam – Greenpeace warned that the Philippines stands to lose lucrative tuna markets, unless it fully embraces sustainable fishing practices immediately. The environment group made the call as governments, including the Philippines, gather in Guam this week for the meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), of which the Philippines is a member. Greenpeace wants the country to crack down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and abandon its environmentally harmful call to lift the ban on fishing using fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the Pacific High Seas.

The Greenpeace statement follows the release of a report [1] from Canadian rankings of the industry showing that global fisheries are steadily moving towards fulfilling markets’ growing demands for responsibly-sourced tuna, as a response to the rapid decline of global tuna stocks.

“Many of the major global markets for tuna, such as the UK and Canada, are now demanding fish caught using sustainable means.  They fully realize that the current rate of fishing cannot continue,” said Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia oceans campaigner.  “The Philippines has to ensure that it is recognized as a certified source, otherwise the country risks losing out to other players.”

The WCPFC is an intergovernmental body whose meetings are crucial in deciding the future of Pacific tuna.  Decisions taken by the body this week will have repercussions on tuna populations for generations to come.  Greenpeace is demanding that the WCPFC listen to consumer and industry demand for sustainable tuna and end all fishing in the Pacific Commons [2], continue the ban on wasteful FAD in purse seine fisheries and cut the bigeye tuna catch in half.

The current call of the Philippines to lift the ban is detrimental to the preservation of tuna stocks for future generations.  Certain areas in the Pacific have been closed to FAD fishing for the past three years as a result of conservation measures taken by the WCPFC in response to the decline in bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks.  The Philippines, however, has been lobbying to reverse these conservation measures.

“It is time that the Philippines realize that their efforts to open the High Seas Pockets to FAD fishing will be detrimental in the longer term.  We need to take conservation measures now both domestically and internationally in order to ensure fish for the future” Dia added.

The Philippines is the second largest canned tuna producer in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) following Thailand, and is the third biggest supplier of canned tuna [3]. The WCPO is the world’s largest tuna fishery, where roughly 60% of the world’s tuna supplies come from.  Valuable bigeye tuna is now overfished and yellowfin, skipjack and albacore tunas are all in decline.  Destructive fishing methods, such as purse seine fishing using FADs, are largely to blame, and because the WCPFC has failed to follow its own scientific advice of reducing tuna catches.

Greenpeace has also just released two Pacific tuna reports: one outlining progress taken by tuna companies to save Pacific tuna in recent years and another, detailing illegal fishing activities, documented by Greenpeace during its 2011 “Defending our Pacific” ship tour [4].

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health. Around the world, Greenpeace is working with retailers and tuna brands across Europe, Australia and the Americas to increase the market share of sustainably-sourced tuna.

 

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Contacts: 

Mark Dia, GPSEA oceans campaigner, +639178430549, (632) 3321807 loc 111,

JP Agcaoili, GPSEA media campaigner, +639176312750, (632) 3321807 loc 109,

Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner, in Guam, +31 655 125 480

Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications, in Amsterdam, +31 643 787 359

 

Notes: 

[1] http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Oceans-Reports/Changing-Tuna/

[2] http://www.greenpeace.org/international/pacificcommons

[3] Market and Industry Dynamics in the Global Tuna Supply Chain, http://www.ffa.int/node/567

[4] http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Oceans-Reports/Defending-Our-Pacific/

 

For more information about Greenpeace at the WCPFC, please visit http://www.greenpeace.org/publications/savepacifictuna