Amsterdam, 16 November 2011- Shocking new video footage captured by a tuna industry whistleblower, was released by Greenpeace today, revealing the routine careless slaughter of marine species, including whale sharks, rays and whales, as purse-seine vessels deploying Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) cut a swathe through the Pacific Ocean (1). The video has emerged less than a month before the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting, where key conservation measures to secure the future of the Pacific region’s tuna, marine life, food security and economic prosperity will be decided. The never-before-seen footage, shot onboard a tuna fishing vessel in the Pacific, reveals the true cost of a can of tuna, and underlines the urgent need for nations to extend a fishing ban in the Pacific Commons(2) and to ban the use of FADs with purse seine nets at December’s meeting. Both are necessary steps for the creation of a healthy tuna industry, and the promise living oceans for the future.
“Consumers have the right to know what is destroyed and discarded in order to fill their cans with tuna,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “This shocking video is a wake-up call: we as consumers, can demand that retailers give shelf-space only to responsibly-caught tuna. Without significant changes to global fishing practices and more protected marine reserves across the world’s seas, we will literally fish away future tuna supplies, jobs and healthy oceans.”
Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) are floating devices used to attract fish to the surface, and are one of the most aggressive fishing operations used by the industry in the face of fish populations that are declining due to overfishing. While they have been banned in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean for three months of the year, this is not enough and Greenpeace is calling for their ban in purse seine fisheries, on a year-round, basis.
Greenpeace is campaigning globally for nations to ban all fishing in the Pacific Commons and to ban the use of FADs with purse seines across the Western and Central Pacific at the Pacific tuna commission meeting. Nearly 60% of the world’s tuna comes from the Pacific (3), where the region’s valuable bigeye and yellowfin tuna are currently being overfished. The increased catch of juvenile tuna with FADs is further putting these species at risk. Greenpeace is also demanding that tuna fishing across the Western and Central Pacific be cut in half.
“The tuna fishing industry is at a crossroads: continuing business as usual is simply handing our children empty oceans, empty nets and empty plates and bellies”, continued Tolvanen.
Several tuna brands, including UK tuna giants Princes and John West, have committed to not source tuna from operations using FADs as well as tuna caught in the Pacific Commons. Greenpeace campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Canada and the United States are putting the pressure on retailers and tuna brands to take steps to rescue the Pacific for the benefit of the region’s food security and economic prosperity.
Greenpeace is campaigning around the world for fishing industry reform and for a global network of marine reserves, areas of ocean off-limits to fishing, covering 40% of the world’s oceans. These are necessary steps to a future of fish and healthy, living oceans.
CONTACT: Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner (in Amsterdam) +31 655 125 480
Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications (in Manila) +66 819 298 707
Greenpeace International 24-hour media hotline: +31 20 718 2470
For background footage, Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal (in Amsterdam), +31 646197322
The video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JlKwoUtMk4
(1) Large marine animals such as whale sharks and cetaceans are also being routinely used as FADs in purse seine fisheries, resulting in increased deaths of these vulnerable species: http://www.wcpfc.int/doc/wcpfc7-2010-ip-01/summary-information-whale-shark-and-cetacean-interactions-tropical-wcpfc-purse
(3) Globally, over 80 percent of fish populations are at risk of commercial extinction, due to overfishing. In the Pacific the bigeye and yellowfin tuna populations are now being overfished, both were recently listed as vulnerable and threatened with extinction by the World Conservation Union (IUCN): http://www.iucn.org/?7820/Increased-protection-urgently-needed-for-tunas Last stock assessments for Western and Central Pacific bigeye and yellowfin available here: http://www.wcpfc.int/node/3961