More Than 84,000 People Are Calling for Ocean Safe Tuna

by Kate Melges

June 17, 2015

Over the last several months, canned tuna consumers and ocean lovers have been learning more about the true cost of many canned tuna brands. Over 84,000 people have called on the three biggest US brands, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and Starkist, to stop being part of the overfishing crisis and instead start offering better options for our oceans and their consumers. Today, Greenpeace delivered the names of these concerned petition signatories to the headquarters of these canned tuna giants, accompanied by a caution to their customers placed online in its Headquarter’s city papers.

As Greenpeace’s Tuna Shopping Guide  made the rounds on social media and through face to face chats with the public, more and more consumers were reaching out to us with their shock and concern about their previously favorite brands, and with an interest to know more about better options. The 84,000 people who signed our petition agree that these companies have a responsibility to ensure that their products come from sustainable and socially responsibly sources, and we were happy to deliver that message to the companies for them.

The ads, which warn that there is much more than meets the eye (and taste buds) with these household name brands, will run in the Union Tribune in the former tuna capital of the world, San Diego, hometown to Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea.

Starkist, Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea all received a failing grade in Greenpeace’s first canned tuna ranking that was released as part of the Tuna Shopping Guide earlier this year. Sourcing from unhealthy tuna stocks and wasteful fishing methods that kill more than just tuna, and lacking a comprehensive policy were among the key reasons.

Greenpeace’s ask to these and other brands is clear – commit to offering sustainable and socially responsible tuna for their customers, and create a deadline by which point we can be assured that the tuna behind the labels is ocean safe. Sustainable or ocean safe means sourcing from healthy tuna stocks and current best-practice fishing methods in terms of reducing the impact on ocean life like pole and line, troll, handline, purse seines fishing on free schools of tuna (FAD free) and where possible, fully mitigated longlines. Socially responsible means ensuring the tuna not only comes from slavery-free operations but from companies treating their employees with respect and paying them fair wages.

The US market needs to catch up to more progressive markets like the UK and Australia and start greening the canned tuna aisles of grocery stores across the country. These 3 major players in the US market can, and must, lead the way. As Greenpeace continues to work in the US and in key markets around the world to transform canned tuna supply chains, the 84,000 people calling for quick action will only keep growing and growing.

Which big brand will be the first to be part of the solution, instead of greenwashing their canned tuna?

Kate Melges

By Kate Melges

Kate Melges is an oceans campaigner based in Seattle. She leads Greenpeace’s Ocean Plastics work. Kate’s focus is ending the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean.

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