Stories

The Problem With Tuna

Global tuna fisheries are out of control. They’re emptying our oceans of fish, harming marine life and exploiting workers. The Rainbow Warrior is sailing into the Pacific Ocean to confront the industry with a simple message: It’s time to change.

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The Problem With Tuna

If you’ve bought or eaten tuna recently there’s a good chance it came from the Pacific.
As well as being the world's largest and deepest ocean, the Pacific is the biggest tuna fishing ground on the planet.

But the way companies are fishing there means tuna's days are numbered. Thousands of fishing vessels from all over the world are slowly but surely emptying the Pacific of its prize catch.

They’re doing this any way they can. Illegal catches, indiscriminate fishing methods, exploiting their workers – whatever it takes. It’s like a wet wild west out there, with lots of bandits and few sheriffs.

It’s never good to act in a way that threatens your own future, but this is what the tuna industry’s doing in the Pacific. It’s fishing itself to extinction.

Stocks are in serious decline. Species like bigeye and albacore are listed as Vulnerable or Near Threatened, and one of our most valued tuna species – Pacific bluefin – is on the brink of collapse. Famous sushi chefs are saying we'll have to look elsewhere for a key ingredient. Stories of human rights abuses plague the industry. Some vessels are like floating sweatshops. And coastal communities are robbed of fish, jobs and income.

This is an industry in crisis. And it’s a lose-lose for people and our oceans.

Greenpeace is determined to turn things around.

We want to bring a fundamental change the way tuna is fished so we can all feel good about the tuna we eat. We think it’s possible to have a thriving and fair tuna industry well into the future, rather than one destined for demise.

So we’re doing two things this week. We’re launching a new global website to gather support for this tuna turnaround. And we’re taking to sea to witness first hand the industry’s worst excesses. 

Right now I'm sailing out from New Zealand on the Rainbow Warrior en route to the Pacific. We're heading out to shine a spotlight on what’s going on with tuna. It's a big ocean and I don't know what we'll find or even if we'll find anything at all but we have a good ship and a great crew so watch this space!

It’s going to be an exciting few months. Whether in supermarkets, sushi restaurants, international forums or far out at sea, we’re fighting for tuna’s survival.

You can follow our progress here and help us bring the world's attention to the dark underbelly of the tuna industry.

- Karli Thomas