The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has launched an expedition into the Indian Ocean to tackle peacefully what it alleges is unsustainable fishing by the world’s largest tuna company, Thai Union.
In the first operation of its kind, Greenpeace’s largest and fastest ship will remove destructive fishing gear, including fish aggregating devices (FADs), belonging to TU’s suppliers in the Indian Ocean. A spokesman said one FAD in TU’s supply chain had already been found, removed and disabled.
“We’ve seen these marine snares – or ‘fish aggregating devices’ – up close, and even though they are meant to attract tuna they are teeming with other marine life caught in industrial nets, where they die, and are thrown back into the water as so-called by-catch,” said Francois Chartier, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace France.
“This is unsustainable and unacceptable and we intend on dismantling every single one we can find.” Supplying one-fifth of the world’s canned tuna, Thai Union owns major brands around the world, including John West (UK and the Netherlands), Chicken of the Sea (US), Petit Navire (France), Mareblu (Italy) and Sealect (Thailand).
The company also supplies other major companies including Mars, owner of cat-food brand Whiskas.
Thai Union has also been rocked by charges of repeated links to human-rights abuses in its supply chains.
Greenpeace claims hundreds of thousands have already backed its campaign, launched last October, calling on Thai Union to stop using FADs and to ensure its entire global supply chain is free from human-rights abuses.
“The tide is turning on companies who think they can keep plundering the oceans and turning a blind eye to exploitation in their supply chains,” Chartier said.
“People want to know that the tuna they’re buying doesn’t come at the cost of the oceans and those who work on them. If Thai Union doesn’t want to stop this dirty tuna coming on to our shelves, then we as a movement are going to do it for them by taking action from sea to shelf.”