Finally, some long-awaited news: New Zealand’s biggest tuna brand, Sealord, has acknowledged that destructive fish aggregating devices are OUT and more sustainable fishing methods are IN. The company announced yesterday afternoon that it will be phasing out the use of FAD-caught tuna by early 2014!

This is great news and makes the weekly supermarket shop easier for mums and dads who will soon be able to have more confidence that their canned tuna hasn’t been caught using methods that can kill sharks, turtles and baby tuna.

It has certainly been a long road to get here. It was two years ago when we first called on all of New Zealand’s major tuna brands to shift to more sustainable tuna sources. Of course, meetings with those companies were already underway, to explain the impact of FADs on Pacific tuna stocks and other ocean life, and the efforts by Pacific Island countries to achieve a ban.

With tens of thousands of emails sent to all five tuna brands, our first success came soon after the launch of our campaign. On World Oceans Day 2011, Foodstuffs announced it would be introducing a pole and line caught tuna range and switching to FAD-free tuna. Soon after, pole and line tuna brand Fish 4 Ever came on sale in New Zealand. At last, Kiwi shoppers had a better environmental choice available!

Since then, tens of thousands of Greenpeace supporters have been involved in the campaign to convince Sealord to do the same. Sending emails and letters to the company, turning a water tower into giant tuna can, re-branding Sealord’s new logo, subvertising their advertising, showing the true horror of FAD fishing with a kiwi heli pilot’s shocking footage of this fishing method, and generally mucking about (sometimes literally) with shark suits.

We couldn’t have done this without the huge support, involvement and encouragement of Kiwis! And now, we can proudly claim our place as the third country in the world where all the major tuna brands have committed to go FAD-free. If only Sealord had got its act together a few months earlier we might have beaten the Aussies to second place!

Our shark mascots, Bruce and Clark, have been instrumental in many of our activities calling on Sealord and other brands to do the right thing for our oceans. The pair are now taking a well-earned break – but I have a feeling they’ll be back to work soon, with new efforts to protect our oceans from harm.

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