A major Australian tuna brand has pledged to discontinue fishing methods that threaten species including dolphins, sharks, rays and turtles. The use of Fish Aggregation Devices will be dropped by 2015 in a move that has been applauded as environmentally-friendly. Liquid waste, pollution and fishing have threatened many marine stocks.
Canned tuna brand Greenseashas announced it will stop using Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) with its purse seine net fishing operations by 2015.
The company has urged its competitors to follow suit in this eco-friendly industrial move.
The use of FADs and seine net fishing has caused widespread death of endangered marine species and has been condemned by green revolution proponents Greenpeace.
The extreme green move by Greenseas is an important step forward for the industry. Eight out of 10 Australian canned tuna brands, including John West, Woolworths and Coles, use the controversial techniques.
“It’s a big decision, it’s a bold one for us and it’s an important one for the business, but we feel’ it’s the most important thing we can do to ensure sustainable canned tune in Australia in years to come,” Heinz Australia corporate affairs manager Jessica Ramsden has said.
“There are very few canned tuna brands in the world that have made this commitment.”
Tuna brand Safcol has been an industry leader in the green revolution under way in the fishing industry. It has taken the eco-friendly decision to improve its products’ environmental rating by dropping seine net fishing and the use of FADs and relying solely on pole and lien caught tuna.
Seine net fishing
Seine net fishing involves setting a large circular ‘wall’ of net around fish then pursing the bottom together to capture them.
Environmental activities Greenpeace says the technique is suitable for large single-species school of fish including herring or mackerel.
It has been critical of this technique for catching tuna as it involves a large bycatch of threatened species as well as putting increased pressure on already depleted tuna stocks.
“Australian brands can make these changes (in fishing techniques) and Greenseas is demonstrating that. We would like the rest of the industry in Australia to follow suit as the whole UK market has done,” Greenpeace oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.
Fish stocks including tuna are being threatened by overfishing and increased marine pollution. Chemicals from non-eco-friendly industrial liquids and waste debris from construction, boating, mining and other activities have created a toxic environment for much marine life.
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