PHOTOS: The Fight for Sustainable Tuna Is Going Global

by Maïa Booker

October 30, 2015

This week, activists from San Diego to Bangkok sent a clear message to tuna industry giant Thai Union Group and its global brands: it's time for just and sustainable tuna.

A version of this article was originally published by Greenpeace International

Thai Union Group is the largest canned tuna company in the world. Here in the United States, the company owns major brand Chicken of the Sea, as well as Sealect in Thailand, John West in the United Kingdom and Mareblu in Italy. Together, they’re the culprits behind some serious ocean devastation: using fishing methods that harm marine life and deplete tuna populations. What’s more, Thai Union has repeatedly been connected to horrific labor practices and human rights abuses.

But in recent months, the movement to rein in the out-of-control tuna industry — starting with Thai Union — has grown in strength. More than 250,000 people have sent messages to Thai Union’s brands all around the world. And thousands of phone calls have tied up Thai Union brands’ phone lines.

Still, Thai Union hasn’t changed its policies; the message hasn’t sunk in. So this week, activists decided to force Thai Union and its major brands to listen. From a giant tuna can outside John West’s headquarters in the United Kingdom, to a real-life mermaid protest outside the Chicken of the Sea’s headquarters in the San Diego — Thai Union Group can no longer turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the demands of ocean lovers everywhere.

Check out how activists around their world got their message across to Thai Union, and do your part to tell Chicken of the Sea to clean up its act for our oceans!

Speaking Up for Sustainable Tuna in the U.S., U.K., Italy and Thailand

In the United States, a special guest joined the call for the Thai Union brand Chicken of the Sea to take immediate steps to address labor abuse and destructive fishing methods in its supply chain. Hannah Fraser, acclaimed mermaid performance artist and ocean activist, joined Greenpeace at Chicken of the Sea’s headquarters to demand that the company stop green-washing its record on ocean sustainability.

In the United Kingdom, thousands came by to see the two-story sculpture and statues of dead marine life erected outside of John West’s headquarters in Liverpool. The tuna tin was ripped open to reveal a screen showing short films and messages from the people of Liverpool and celebrities. Hundreds more made calls to John West’s headquarters to demand an end to destructive fishing practices.

In Italy, sharks were on parade in front of Mareblu’s headquarters in Milan. Only 0.2 percent of this Thai Union brand’s tuna is sourced from sustainable practices, while the company promised 100 percent sustainably caught tuna by 2016. Mareblu has continued to use destructive fishing methods that also kill sharks and turtles.

And finally in Thailand, activists placed a large mock-up of a Sealect tuna can in front of Thai Union’s Bangkok headquarters — complete with life-sized stuffed tuna. The protest challenged the company to change its fishing and labor practices.

Activists all over the world spoke to Thai Union Group in one voice this week, but we need to keep pushing. Only together can we make powerful change for the largest ecosystem on the planet.

Take action and tell Chicken of the Sea it needs to do better for our oceans. 

By Maïa Booker

Maïa Booker is a Multimedia Editor for the Americas at Greenpeace.

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