Sealord is ignoring a global trend by canned tuna retailers taking steps to protect tuna stocks from overfishing, says Greenpeace.
On Monday Italy’s leading canned tuna brand, Mareblu (1), joined a growing list of retailers which will no longer sell tuna caught using purse seine nets set around fish aggregating devices (FADs) - a fishing method which kills other marine life (2). This is the method used by fleets supplying Sealord which is refusing to change its sourcing policy.
Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas says the Mareblu commitment to change to more sustainable fishing methods is another important step towards halting the decline in tuna stocks and protecting the marine environment.
“It is now clear that major change is taking place across the global tuna industry. It’s very disappointing that Sealord, New Zealand’s largest canned tuna brand, thinks it knows better and is ignoring this trend,” she says.
“As more and more businesses abandon the use of destructive FADs and commit to supporting marine reserves, real pressure is growing Sealord and other brands which are refusing to clean up their supplies and provide consumers with the sustainable products they are demanding.”
The Mareblu announcement comes three weeks after a similar shift by US grocery giant Safeway (3). In the UK all the major tuna brands have stopped using, or committed to phase out, FAD-caught tuna.
In June last year New Zealand retailer Foodstuffs announced (4) that it would change most of its Pams range of canned tuna to FAD-free by the end of 2011 and add a range of tuna caught by pole and line – a lower impact type of fishing. Greenseas, owned by Heinz in Australia, and also sold in New Zealand, has committed to phase out FAD and purse seine caught tuna by 2015 (5).
Mareblu says that by 2016 all of its tuna will be caught by pole and line or in purse seine nets which do not use FADs. It also says it supports marine reserves and will not source tuna or other fish from the network of areas in the Pacific Ocean known as the Pacific Commons.
Greenpeace is campaigning globally to create a more sustainable and equitable fishing industry and a global network of marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world’s oceans - necessary steps to creating healthy, living oceans.
Notes to editor
2) Tuna instinctively gather around FADs which also attract other ocean life including threatened sharks, juvenile tuna and other ocean creatures 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.