Greenpeace hits John West where it hurts – at sea, on land and in the shops

Publication date: 23rd May 2016

London, 23 May 2016 – Through a series of coordinated actions, Greenpeace has disrupted John West’s operations at every point of its supply chain from sea to shelf as international pressure grows on the embattled company to stop reneging on its promises and move towards producing 100 per cent sustainable tuna.

This morning 25 activists targeted a major processing facility in Brittany, France belonging to Thai Union, the owner of John West. While on Saturday teams of volunteers cleared the shelves of tinned John West tuna in more than 50 Sainsbury’s stores throughout the UK.

Greenpeace activists protest against John West

The protesters blockaded the facilities and locked themselves to large tuna cans to challenge Thai Union’s continued links to destructive fishing practices including the use of fish-aggregating devices [FADs] which can result in the accidental catching of all kinds of marine life including sharks.

Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner, Hélène Bourges said:

“Today, we are confronting Thai Union on land. We are determined to expose its fishing practices and stop this company from its continued destruction of our oceans. We’re targeting their entire supply chain – from fishing areas to production sites and super market shelves.”

The move in France comes after people across the UK cleared John West tuna cans from the shelves of Sainsbury’s stores. Pressure is mounting on the country’s second largest supermarket chain to take action to ensure all the tuna on its shelves is 100 % sustainable, not just its own brand.

Sainsbury’s have been remarkably quiet on the issue of John West despite more than 70,000 people emailing their CEO and more than 500 jamming the customer service phone line demanding to know why the supermarket continues to stock unsustainably-caught tuna.

Tesco and Waitrose have already announced that John West tuna could be removed from their stores if the Liverpool-based company does not fulfil sustainability promises they have made yet shown no indication of taking serious action on.

The Greenpeace ship the Esperanza has also been taking action in the Indian Ocean to expose Thai Union’s and John West’s destructive fishing practices. A number of FADs have been identified and removed that are directly linked to suppliers of the two companies. FADs consistently lead to large amounts of so-called bycatch that includes endangered species such as the silky shark.

Bourges said:

“UK retailers such as Sainsbury’s, cannot claim to be sustainable in their sourcing policies if there are tins of tuna sitting on their shelves from a brand like John West.

“This is a company that said way back in 2011 that it was going to produce only FAD-free and pole –and- line caught tuna by the end of 2016. Yet with only 6 months left, their progress in reaching that target could be described as laughable, were it not such a serious issue.”

Notes to editors:

For photo and video of today’s action in Brittany, the activities in Sainsbury’s and of the Esperanza Indian Ocean tour please contact: photo.uk@greenpeace.org

For further media queries and information about the campaign on Sainsbury’s and John West contact: Greg Norman, press officer, Greenpeace UK, +44 7801 212 976, greg.norman@greenpeace.org

Read about Tesco and Waitrose’s announcements on John West