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'Tuna the Wonderfish' Not So Wonderful after All
By Oliver Knowles
In March, just a year after the launch of a planned three-year, multi-million dollar advertising push to try and increase sales of unsustainable canned tuna in the U.S., the “Tuna the Wonderfish” advertising campaign—funded by U.S. tuna companies and executed by the U.S. industry lobby group National Fisheries Institute (NFI)—has collapsed, having already spent a staggering $20 million dollars (15 million euros) of a planned $60 million budget.
Industry sources are reported to have radically scaled back the planned work as it has failed to increase sales as expected. The $20 million dollars has already been spent on expensive television, newspaper and magazine advertisements.
The advertising campaign exposes the huge contradiction at the heart of some of the tuna industry’s biggest players, who like to talk about sustainability but instead of delivering change spend huge amounts of money advertising products that are caught using destructive and wasteful fishing methods.
Greenpeace is running an international campaign to encourage major tuna brands and retailers to sell sustainable tuna and to phase out the use of highly destructive Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) used in purse seine fisheries. In the U.S., Greenpeace is working to change leading brand Chicken of the Sea because they continue to sell tuna caught in purse seine FAD fisheries and poorly regulated longline fisheries, both of which waste an array of marine life other than tuna including endangered sharks and turtles. Chicken of the Sea is one of the main sponsors of the failed advertising campaign.
Scrap the ads, invest in sustainability
Why doesn’t the U.S. tuna industry instead spend money improving its fishing operations and supporting responsible fisheries? Putting proper sustainability measures in place makes good business sense for the long term because it means safeguarding future supplies, in contrast to the NFI’s bad advice of spending money to drive up short-term profits.
$20 million dollars has already been wasted, but $40 million dollars of the originally earmarked budget remains. If the industry is serious about its environmental credentials, it should put its money where its mouth is and spend the money to change its fishing practices to make them less harmful to our oceans. In March, Italian tuna brand Mareblu became the latest tuna company to change its ways by committing to phase out destructive FADs. Momentum is growing to transform the tuna industry. Who will be next? The world needs tuna for tomorrow, not slick ads from companies that are lagging behind visionary competitors.
Earlier this year, leading U.S. retailer Safeway announced that its own-brand skipjack tuna will be 100 percent FAD-free by the end of 2012. The company joins leading brands Mareblu, Princes and John West and all of the major UK retailers who have also signed up to selling only pole and line or FAD-free purse seine caught tuna.
Change is possible, even for the big players. If the tuna industry continues to fish itself out of existence, there will be nothing left to advertise. These companies would be wise to invest their money in creating a sustainable industry.
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A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
The crowd appears to attack a protestor in a video shared on Twitter by ITV journalist Mahatir Pasha. VOA News / Youtube screenshot
Some London commuters had a violent reaction Thursday morning when Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to disrupt train service during rush hour.
By Kristen Fischer
Though the science has shown sugary drinks are not healthy for children, fruit drinks and similar beverages accounted for more than half of all children's drink sales in 2018, according to a new report.
Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.