Thousands of sharks and turtles wiped out for tined tuna

Last edited 13 August 2008 at 2:18pm
13 August, 2008

Tinned tuna sellers John West are relying on fishing methods responsible for wiping out thousands of sharks and turtles every year - including some rare and threatened species.

The UK's largest seller of tinned tuna has been ranked bottom of an environmentally friendly tinned tuna league table due to the use of these destructive fishing methods used to catch its tuna.

John West tinned tuna is often caught using ‘fish aggregation devices', or FADs, which are used to attract tuna. But they also attract a host of other species including turtles, sharks and juvenile tuna before everything around the FAD is scooped up in a huge net. On average, every time a FAD is used, 1kg of these other species will be caught for every 10kg of tuna (1).

Sainsburys own-brand tinned tuna topped the Greenpeace league table. Their fish are caught using a pole and line, making them the only tinned tuna brand that is fished using solely sustainable methods.

David Ritter, head of Greenpeace's oceans campaign, said:

"Thousands of turtles and sharks are killed every year while catching tuna to be put in tins. And John West - the biggest tinned tuna seller in the UK - is currently the worst supplier of the lot.

"Whilst the label on the tin may say ‘dolphin-friendly', some tuna fishing methods can be hugely destructive.

"John West must stop selling tuna caught in this way. And, if the whole fishing industry is going to be truly sustainable, then they must support the introduction of large scale marine reserves across the world's oceans."

Tinned Tuna League Table

  1. SAINSBURY'S. All of Sainsbury's tinned tuna is now pole and line caught, making their own-brand the only one that is entirely fished using sustainable methods.
  2. CO-OP. Around 50 per cent of the Co-op's tinned tuna is caught using pole and line.
  3. MARKS AND SPENCER.  Good overall seafood procurement policy, but a great deal of their tuna comes from fishing boats that have no restriction on the use of FADs.
  4. ASDA. Show awareness of the problems, but a great deal of their tuna comes from fishing boats that have no restriction on the use of FADs and the tins fail to say how the fish was caught. Have expressed some support for marine reserves.
  5. MORRISONS. Again, some awareness of the problems, a great deal of their tuna comes from fishing boats that have no restriction on the use of FADs and the tins fail to say how the fish was caught.
  6. TESCO. The majority of Tesco tuna comes from boats that have no restrictions on using FADs, and they fail to tell customers how the fish was caught.
  7. PRINCES. No restrictions on the use of FADs,no support for marine reserves and Princes tins never say how the fish was caught.
  8. JOHN WEST. Never tells consumers how the tuna was caught, no restrictions on the use of FADs for the majority of their catch, no support for marine reserves and more widespread use of tuna from stocks under specific threat. And the John West general sustainable seafood policy is lacking basic credibility.

Greenpeace press office: 020 7865 8255

Notes:

(1) D. Bromhead et al, Review of the impact of fish aggregating devices (FADs) on tuna fisheries. Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 2003

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