FADs used by some tuna fisheries. (Photo: YouTube/GreenpeaceVideo)
Greenpeace releases footage on negative impact of FADs
Friday, November 18, 2011, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
Greenpeace has released footage and images of whales, a marlin and ray dying as bycatch as a result of industrial tuna fishing in the Pacific Ocean.
The footage was delivered by a New Zealand helicopter pilot who became a whistleblower and undertook aerial reconnaissance for a small fleet of tuna boats in the Pacific two years ago. Greenpeace has disguised the pilot’s identity to protect him from reprisals.
The pilot secretly filmed marine life being hauled on deck, dead or dying, after being taken as bycatch in purse seine nets set around fish aggregation devices (FADs).
“Kiwis will be outraged by the obscene waste of ocean life shown in this footage. This is the same destructive fishing method used by the fishing fleets that supply Sealord, New Zealand's biggest canned tuna brand,” says Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas.
Information published by Sealord claims that “bycatch in FAD-based tuna fisheries is made up of other fish, sharks and rays, averaging about 5 per cent of the total catch”. This method of fishing also results in substantial catches of undersized tuna, which “can represent from 15-20 per cent of a purse seine FAD set catch.”
“About 200,000 tonnes of this bycatch is caught annually by the global tuna industry’s destructive practices. That’s the equivalent of more than one billion cans of bycatch needlessly destroyed every year,” Thomas continued.
Last April, Greenpeace launched a campaign urging New Zealand’s five main tuna brands to stop fishing tuna using FADs and purse seine nets.
Soon after, Foodstuffs announced most of its Pams brand tuna would be sourced from pole and line or FAD-free fisheries by the end of the year. The company has confirmed that FAD-free tuna is now available in its South Island and Wellington stores and will soon be on sale in Auckland.
Last month, Greenseas committed to phase out FAD caught tuna by 2015.
“As New Zealand’s largest supplier of canned tuna Sealord should be ashamed to be involved with unsustainable tuna fishing. While Sealord defends indiscriminate FAD fishing, their competitor Pams has become a market leader in tuna sustainability in New Zealand by switching to FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna,” said Thomas.
Sealord has responded by issuing a statement saying it has an excellent record on tuna sustainability, that their level of bycatch is very low and that they are investigating how to slash it further, 3 News reports.
- Greenpeace bombards Auckland with anti-Sealord messages
By Natalia Real
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member Greenpeace New Zealand