Indian Ocean, 18 April 2016 – Today, the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, launched an expedition in the Indian Ocean to peacefully tackle unsustainable fishing by the world’s largest tuna company, Thai Union.

With some tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean, such as Yellowfin, on the brink of collapse due to overfishing, the expedition is exposing Thai Union’s destructive fishing methods which contribute to overfishing and harm a range of marine life including sharks and juvenile tuna.

François Chartier, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace France, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have already called on Thai Union to clean up its act. The company has heard that call and while it’s taken small steps in the right direction, Thai Union’s written promises are barely papering the cracks of its fractured image.”

Supplying one-fifth of the world’s tinned tuna, Thai Union owns major brands around the world, including John West (UK and Netherlands), Chicken of the Sea (US), Petit Navire (France), Mareblu (Italy) and Sealect (Thailand).

The company has been rocked by repeated links to human rights abuses in its supply chains as well as destructive fishing practices, including the use of so-called Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), which indiscriminately catch a host of marine life such as sharks and juvenile tuna, when used alongside purse seine nets. [1]

Hundreds of thousands have already backed Greenpeace’s campaign, launched in October 2015, calling on Thai Union to stop using FADs and to ensure its entire global supply chain is free from human rights abuses.

Activists aboard the Esperanza will document and peacefully oppose the destructive practices of fishing vessels supplying Thai Union, to prevent the indiscriminate harm caused to marine life.

“The tide is turning on companies who think they can keep plundering the oceans and turning a blind eye to exploitation in their supply chains,” Chartier said. “People want to know that the tuna they’re buying doesn’t come at the cost of the oceans and those who work on them. If Thai Union doesn’t want to stop this dirty tuna coming onto our shelves, then we as a movement are going to do it for them by taking action from sea to shelf.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

[1] Recent investigations, including by the New York Times and Associated Press, have found labour rights and human rights abuses in Thai Union’s supply chains. Despite taking some measures in response to these findings, Thai Union’s CEO Thiraphong Chansiri has said “We all have to admit that it is difficult to ensure the Thai seafood industry’s supply chain is 100% clean”.

Greenpeace is calling on Thai Union to put in place strict, comprehensive, and transparent procurement standards across all of its supply chains that guarantee, through third party verification, that all of the seafood it uses is free from human rights and labour abuses.

Photos from the Esperanza available here 

Media contacts:

Luke Massey, Press & Communications Officer, Greenpeace UK, mobile: +44 (0)7973873155, lmassey@greenpeace.org

Myriam Fallon, Seafood Communications Coordinator, Greenpeace USA (San Francisco), mobile: 1.708.546.9001, mfallon@greenpeace.org