Breaking: Tesco backs down and Oriental & Pacific cleans up

Posted by Ariana Densham — 10 April 2014 at 1:27pm - Comments
Olive Ridley turtle in the Pacific Ocean
All rights reserved. Credit: Paul Hilton / Greenpeace
Olive Ridley turtle in the Pacific Ocean

I’m so happy to announce that after we released our 2014 tuna league table, and after all your emails, tweets and calls to Tesco over the last few weeks – we have a fantastic victory. The manufacturer of Oriental & Pacific tuna has agreed to our demands. This means that fewer sharks, turtles and rays will be killed as a result of the method used to fish this tuna.

From now on, Oriental & Pacific will be sourced using only tuna which has been caught without the use of deadly fish aggregation devices (FADs). Together with big nets, this fishing method results in the death of other marine creatures – some of which are endangered. Big nets and FADs are a lethal combination.

In practice this means that you’ll be able to pick up a 100% sustainable tin of Oriental & Pacific tuna by the end of April 2015. This allows time for their existing stock to be sold through. It makes no sense for this food to go to waste.

It all happened quite fast. We were gearing up to launch the next phase of our campaign, which would’ve taken us directly into Tesco stores all around the country, when Tesco HQ wanted to meet us. They were keen to convince us they’ve changed, yet still couldn’t explain why they put Oriental & Pacific on their shelves in the first place despite having a commitment to ocean protection.

Just one week after that, we were sitting down with the head honchos for Oriental & Pacific in the Greenpeace HQ, discussing how they could meet our demands.

Clearly Tesco and Oriental & Pacific were feeling the pressure coming at them, following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight and the 85,000+ people that signed our petition to the Tesco CEO Philip Clarke, demanding that Tesco drops the brand.

What’s clear is that people won’t tolerate Tesco choosing to trash the oceans, just so that they can sell cheap, unsustainable tuna, under the pretence of giving customers “choice”. But because so many of you have spoken, thankfully Oriental & Pacific listened, and they have committed to cleaning up the brand.

It’s amazing news for species like whale sharks, loggerhead turtles and manta rays, which are now far less likely to get caught in the nets used to catch tuna for Oriental & Pacific tins.

But the fight is not yet over.

Other tuna companies have slipped backwards on their previous commitments to us, and we’ve seen other new brands of tinned tuna appearing on supermarket shelves, such as Osprey in Asda, which may also be dodgy. It’s clear as well, that other supermarkets are gaining market share on the ‘big four’ such as the discounters Aldi and Lidl. We’ll be checking what’s in their tuna tins too.

If you want to keep helping us fight the good fight, sign up to be part of the next campaign to clean up the UK tuna market once and for all. 

We’ll let you know which company is next to fall under the Greenpeace spotlight….

About Ariana

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

interested? Follow me on twitter @arianadensham


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