Following a guerrilla campaign outing brands selling destructively caught tuna, Greenpeace has presented its first tuna sustainability awards to two kiwi companies that have changed for the better.
Foodstuffs Own Brands Limited which produces Pams, and Ceres Enterprises which distributes Fish 4 Ever tuna, were recognised for introducing more sustainably caught tuna to the local market in the last 12 months.
Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas says the companies were quick to respond to customer demands urging local brands to stop sourcing tuna caught using fish aggregating devices (FADs), which collect up to 10 times more bycatch compared to pole and line fishing.
“It takes leadership and commitment to move towards the sustainable fishing methods which are essential to protecting our oceans for the next generations,” says Thomas.
“These two companies are taking real steps to protect tuna fisheries from overfishing and destructive fishing methods which catch endangered sharks, juvenile tuna and even turtles.”
General Manager for Foodstuffs Own Brands, Dave McAteer, says the company is proud to be leading the way towards tuna sustainability in the New Zealand canned tuna market.
“We are always working with suppliers to source products in a sustainable way, and in 2011 we clearly listened to New Zealanders’ concerns about the way canned tuna in particular was being sourced. Our customers encouraged us to switch our Pams standard and flavoured tuna to FAD-free and in addition we decided to offer pole and line caught canned tuna options,” he says.
Ceres General Manager Noel Josephson notes a global shift in consumers’ awareness of sustainability issue and a desire to change buying habits.
“We are proud to be able to offer New Zealanders a sustainable tuna option,” he says of the introduction of pole and line caught tuna offered under the Fish 4 Ever label.
While changes made by these companies follow similar shifts in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA, New Zealand’s largest tuna brand, Sealord, has yet to alter its practices.
“It’s very disappointing Sealord is lagging behind local brands and the rest of the world on sustainability. We’d like to see them up their game and quit the use of FAD-caught tuna,” says Thomas.
Australian owned Greenseas has also committed to shift to FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna by 2015.
Pacific under threat:
The majority of New Zealand’s canned tuna is caught in the Pacific which until recently had the world’s last healthy tuna fisheries.
But as industrial fishing fleets exhaust tuna stocks in other oceans, attentions are turning to the Pacific, posing a major threat to the area.
Greenpeace is campaigning for:
A network of marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world’s oceans and a more sustainable fishing industry, both of which the organisation says are crucial to restore our oceans to health.