New Zealand Seafood Council chief executive Peter Bodeker states regulations governing the use of FADs are necessary. (Photo: I&I NSW/FIS)
Commercial seafood groups gang up on Greenpeace
Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and the national seafood industry are disagreeing on whether “Greenpeace is doing a great job attracting attention to bycatch issues in these remote fisheries (tuna fisheries in the western Pacific Ocean).” The seafood sector has suggested that the green group knows nothing of good fisheries management.
“The current Greenpeace campaign focusing on the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in tuna purse seine fisheries highlights the organisation’s unwillingness to understand effective fisheries management,” said Peter Bodeker, chief executive of the New Zealand Seafood Council.
The Council noted that, despite quoting figures from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) on bycatch rates, Greenpeace has not worked with this group to improve tuna fishing techniques.
Bodeker believes effective fisheries management is mostly contingent on ensuring that catch rates are appropriate.
“For highly migratory species, like tuna, which swim through the waters of many nations and international waters, good fisheries management requires cooperation through regional fisheries management organisations. Regulations governing fishing practices, such as the use of FADs, may well be part of the measures adopted,” he acknowledged.
According to Bodeker, NZ’s seafood industry supports the effective management of tuna fisheries via the West and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and its own quota management system (QMS), and collaborates closely with the WCPFC and other regional fisheries groups to cut the bycatch of juvenile tuna and other species.
“We hope that the public appreciates that the key to achieving sustainable fisheries is about more than the use (or not) of FADs as Greenpeace would have them believe,” he underscored.
The US National Fisheries Institute (NFI) concurs.
“In Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Greenpeace has ignored ongoing tuna sustainability work by responsible, international environmental groups and promoted erroneous stories,” NFI accused.
The Institute insists that Greenpeace’s assertion that tuna stocks are on the verge of collapse is wrong, and that skipjack stocks are actually “plentiful” and those of white albacore tuna are “not in crisis.”
NFI also contests that Greenpeace exaggerates the amount of tuna caught as bycatch and that abandoning the use of FADs to use poles and lines is impractical because it will not be able to meet the world’s demand for tuna.
“Relying solely on these fishing methods to supply the global market would increase fuel usage and associated carbon footprint, have potential negative impact on bait fishery stocks, limit supply and ultimately apply price pressure to the most economically sensitive consumers who rely on these products,” the Institute stated.
It moreover claimed that Greenpeace’s goal is not to help the tuna community develop more sustainable fishing methods, but rather to limit choice for US consumers and put retailers out of the canned tuna business.
Relatedly, NZ fishing firm Sealord said it is taking legal advice regarding Greenpeace's latest campaign in Auckland, which consisted of plastered posters across the city with the message that Sealord’s tuna is unsustainable, Radio New Zealand reports.
- Greenpeace bombards Auckland with anti-Sealord messages
By Natalia Real