The final countdown: we’re on the road to clean tuna

Posted by Ariana Densham — 13 June 2014 at 1:15pm - Comments
Skipjack Tuna in East Pacific Ocean
All rights reserved. Credit: Alex Hofford / Greenpeace
Skipjack Tuna in East Pacific Ocean

If they thought they had avoided Greenpeace’s scrutiny, they were wrong. For the first time, we are checking what’s in the tuna tins in Aldi, Lidl, Ocado, Iceland, Budgens and Booths. They join a growing list of supermarkets we’ve surveyed about the tuna they use in their tins, and how it’s caught. 

Today kicks off a new chapter in our tuna campaign. Why? We’re trying to rid the UK market of tuna caught in an unsustainable way - for good.  The main method uses a huge net called a purse seine to encircle the tuna. This net often covers an area the size of a football pitch, or more. It is set around a floating raft known as a fish aggregation device out in the open ocean. These rafts are used because they attract the tuna.  

The problem is that these floating rafts also attract other animals like sharks, turtles, rays and even whales or dolphins as well as baby tuna. No matter. The whole lot is simply scooped out of the water and usually dies.  The combination of purse seines set around floating rafts are death traps for marine creatures – some of which are endangered. 

After one of the most successful environmental campaigns in years, which resulted in the UK tinned tuna market becoming the most sustainable in the world, we are now turning our attention to the rest of the supermarkets who have (so far) flown under the radar. 

We’ve already checked Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-operative, Tesco and Asda in previous tuna league tables. Now we’ll be scrutinizing what’s on the shelves in the discounters and other retailers. 

Greenpeace activists and supporters all around the country will be checking out the tins in their local supermarket for us. They’ll be reporting back what they find, so that we can build up a picture of where the remaining unsustainable brands are being sold. It’ll also help verify what the retailers are themselves telling us. You can take the survey yourself here to help out.

Our oceans are in crisis from overfishing, pollution and climate change. People power has the ability to do something about this – as we’ve seen most recently with Tesco and Oriental & Pacific tuna.  

The public in the UK and around the world have been doing their part, by telling their supermarkets that they will not accept the needless death of other marine creatures, just to stock their cupboards with cheap tins of tuna. 

It’s clear that unsustainable tuna has no place on supermarket shelves any longer. The Lidl’s and Aldi’s of this world would be wise to heed this message loud and clear. 

Join us and keep up to date with how this and other oceans campaigns are going by becoming an Oceans Defender.

About Ariana

I’m Ariana and I’m an campaigner in the Oceans team at Greenpeace UK.  

interested? Follow me on twitter @arianadensham


Follow Greenpeace UK