Tesco, the biggest retailer in the UK, has threatened to ban John West’s tuna if they don’t stop using destructive fishing practices!
In Tesco’s own-brand tuna, so-called “Fish Aggregating Devices” (or FADs) are already banned because they harm all kinds of marine life, including sharks. So instead they use the more sustainable “pole and line” method. (That’s thanks to all you guys and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s epic Fish Fight campaign by the way!)
But now Tesco is telling tuna brands that they’d better do the same. What it means is, if John West doesn’t stop using this destructive fishing gear to catch their tuna, Tesco will drop them from their shelves.
This is a massive step towards a 100% sustainable UK tuna market. But the implications are even bigger than that.
The UK is the second biggest tinned tuna market in the world - and John West is owned by the world’s tuna giant: Thai Union. If they don’t want to lose one of their main markets in Europe, they know they have to end their destructive practices - urgently.
John West is miles away from what Tesco is asking for. We recently found that only a dismal 2% of their tuna is caught using sustainable methods (pole & line and FAD-free purse seining - for all you tuna geeks).
Back in 2011, they promised Greenpeace, Hugh’s Fish Fight and all of you, that they’d clean up their act and be 100% sustainable by the end of 2016. With only 8 months left, John West doesn’t seem to think its promise counts anymore.
The Greenpeace ship the Esperanza is currently sailing in the Indian Ocean, where a load of John West’s tuna comes from. The crew is taking action to track, expose and remove the destructive fishing gear deployed by John West’s suppliers. And before grabbing these devices, the team are documenting all of the marine life underneath - including “near-threatened” sharks - which could be scooped out and killed if nothing is done.
John West is swimming against the tide. They could lose millions of pounds if they don’t clean up their act.
So now it’s crucial for all of us to urge UK supermarkets to take responsibility for the canned tuna they’re selling. Retailers should commit to sell only 100% sustainable tuna by the end of the year.
The UK is leading on sustainability in the tinned tuna market : and this could be the beginning of the end of unsustainable tuna.
Stay tuna-ed for updates!