It’s the campaign that John West rejects, Greenpeace’s “canned tuna guide”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th October 2012

Simplot’s John West has released a statement in response to the negative portrayal of it by Greenpeace in Greenpeace’s latest 2012 canned tuna guide issued last week. The Greenpeace document purports to provide an overview of canned tuna brands and their efforts to meet sustainable fishing practices.

John West, which Greenpeace ranked towards the bottom of its list, has said that it takes its role in safeguarding ocean resources more seriously than Greenpeace suggests.

Greenpeace’s 2012 canned tuna guide has been around since 2009. The 2012 guide was topped by Fish4Ever and Safcol, while Greenpeace recognised that Sirena and Greenseas have “made important sustainability commitments in the past 12 months.” Woolworths, Coles and Sole Mare were the bottom of its list. However the Greenpeace report associated with the list also claimed that the biggest seller in the country, John West, had “continued its destructive fishing practices” through the use of FADs (fish aggregating devices).

Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said in a statement that tuna companies all over the world had made the change to reduce by-catch of marine life, and said that Greenpeace hopes that “major Australian companies such as John West will do the same” this year.

John West has said that the company supports the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) position on FADs. John West said that its tuna products will all be sourced sustainably by 2015.

The John West spokesperson said, “We are aware that Greenpeace has made claims to the media regarding the sustainability of John West tuna products and in particular the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), a device used to attract fish. John West has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years and in 2012 we were proud to announce our partnership with the world’s largest independent conservation organisation, WWF,” a spokesperson for John West said.

John West claims the Greenpeace statement of 10 per cent by-catch was false, and said that the current level of John West by-catch from FADS was 2 per cent.

“The majority of tuna used in our products is sourced from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean purse seine fishery (tuna used in our Pole and Line range is sourced from the Maldives). Data collected by independent scientific observers shows that non tuna species comprise less than 2 per cent of the catch in this fishery. In addition last year over 60 per cent of fishing activity was undertaken without using FADs – a device used to attract fish.”

“Sustainability is a journey that we embarked on many years ago and is something that we are passionate about. We will continue to work towards improving the sustainability of our seafood products in order to reach our 2015 goal,” the John West spokesperson added.