It is with enormous pleasure that we can reveal a groundbreaking victory for our oceans campaign: Princes, a leading tinned tuna brand, finally got your message that canning ocean destruction is unacceptable. Thanks to your efforts – the company has just announced a plan to change the way it gets its tuna.

After receiving over 80,000 emails from Greenpeace supporters, Princes says it will no longer rely on indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods that kill all kinds of marine creatures like sharks and rays. The campaign to convince Princes to ‘change its tuna’ began in 2010, and reached a climax a few weeks ago, when Greenpeace activists climbed on top of Princes HQ in Liverpool, while others dressed in shark costumes and played the theme tune ‘Jaws’ through loud speakers.

Ambitious action plan

Princes has just shared their ‘tuna action plan’ with us, which commits to having all of the company’s tinned tuna caught by either pole and line or purse seine fishing, without the use of FADs (fish aggregation devices — read “ocean annihilation devices”), by 2014. They can’t say yet what the split will be between those two catch methods, but the important thing is they’ve made the commitment to get rid of the use of FADs in conjunction with purse seine nets.

Princes had already said it would add species information to its tins and would launch its own range of pole and line caught tuna, but this latest announcement brings the company in line with leading UK retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose which have zero purse seined tuna in their supply chains.

Greenpeace Divers in the Pacific Ocean. © Paul Hilton

Greenpeace divers hold a banner calling for “More Marine Reserves Now” near a fish aggregating device (FAD). Greenpeace is seeking a global ban on the use of FADs and is campaigning to protect the world’s oceans through the creation of a global network of marine reserves.

Supporting marine reserves

The cherry on the cake is that Princes is now supporting the Pacific Commons marine reserves and have agreed not to source fish from that region. Together with Pacific Island Nations, we’ve been gathering support for the protection of these international waters, which are vital for key fish species like tuna. While our oceans, tuna and the tens of millions of people dependent on them for livelihoods may have won a small victory today, our work to rescue the world’s oceans will continue. As close as we are to achieving fully protected marine reserves in the Pacific – the majority of our oceans remain at risk. That’s why we’re campaigning for a network of marine reserves that cover 40% of the world’s oceans.

What next?

Over the last few years, you, our supporters, have been successfully applying pressure on corporations, with great results. You got Apple to phase-out the most dangerous chemicals in its product line. You convinced Unilever to stop sourcing palm oil from Indonesian rainforests, then last year got Nestle to do the same thing – you didn’t let up until they agreed. This year – we’re pretty sure you can turn around even more companies. So give yourself a pat on the back but don’t sit back and relax – there’s still a lot to be done!

If you haven’t already joined the campaign to get Facebook unfriending coal by Earth Day – you can do that right now. Get your friends involved. The more people we have pushing Facebook towards renewable energy – the more likely they’ll shift.

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