Greenpeace launched a massive outdoor subvertising campaign in Auckland [yesterday] morning, to expose Sealord’s sale of tuna caught using destructive fishing methods.
At daybreak more than 50 Greenpeace volunteers deployed hundreds of posters and banners along main routes into the city and throughout the city centre. The posters feature the new Sealord logo along with the words ‘Nice Logo. Bad* Tuna. *Sealord’s canned tuna is caught unsustainably.’ To ensure all Aucklanders get the message a plane is towing a banner with the same message over the city and central suburbs.
Activists have also ‘converted’ the Three Kings water reservoir into a giant Sealord tuna can and labeled it ‘Bad* tuna’. A five-metre high shark fin protruding from the ‘can’ represents just one of the endangered ocean species at risk from destructive tuna fishing methods.
“We’re letting consumers know that Sealord is buying its tuna from fishing companies that are needlessly destroying marine life,” says Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas
“Today we are taking to the streets to let people know that behind Sealord’s new logo is a dirty fishing practice that is recklessly destroying Pacific sealife. Our message to Sealord is change your tuna not just your logo.”
Greenpeace is running a global campaign urging tuna brands to stop selling tuna caught by industrial fishing vessels using large purse seine nets set around fish aggregation devices (FADs) and to change to more sustainably caught tuna.
Tuna instinctively gather around FADs which also attract other ocean life including threatened sharks, juvenile tuna and even turtles which are then scooped up by the purse seine nets..Known by the fishing industry as ‘bycatch’ these creatures are often thrown back into the sea injured, dead or dying.
According to information circulated by Sealord, bycatch of non tuna species is five to 10 times higher when purse seiners use FADs. This wasteful method also has a serious impact on tuna stocks, as juvenile and undersized tunas make up 15-20 per cent of the catch.
Greenpeace launched its campaign calling on New Zealand’s main brands of canned tuna to stop selling tuna caught this way in April. Foodstuffs announced in June that it would change most of its Pams range of canned tuna to FAD-free by the end of the year.
However, despite receiving more than 13,000 emails from concerned consumers Sealord are currently refusing to change their policy.
All of the UK’s major tuna brands, including John West, have committed to phase out the use of FAD-caught tuna and only sell more sustainably caught tuna. In Australia the brand Fish 4 Ever uses only pole and line caught tuna, and a second brand has recently committed to shift its canned tuna range entirely to this more sustainable fishing method.
Most of New Zealand’s canned tuna comes from the Pacific which, until recently, had the world's last healthy tuna fisheries. These are now under threat as industrial fishing fleets, which have exhausted tuna stocks in other oceans, are concentrating their efforts in the Pacific.
All Pacific tuna stocks are in decline. Bigeye and yellowfin are the most at risk. Scientists have advised that fishing needs to be cut by up to 50 per cent in the Pacific to allow bigeye tuna to recover.
There are close to 6000 industrial tuna vessels licensed to fish in the Western and Central Pacific region. In 2009 those vessels caught almost 2.5 million tonnes of tuna – around 60 per cent of the world’s tuna supply.
A live feed of images can be seen at http://greenpe.ac/sealord-live