Quantcast

'Tuna the Wonderfish' Not So Wonderful after All

Greenpeace International

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.

Changing Industry

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.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A worker in California sprays pesticides on strawberries, one of the crops on which chlorpyrifos is used. Paul Grebliunas / The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not ban the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide that the EPA's own scientists have linked to brain damage in children, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Conservationists estimate the orange-fronted parakeet population has likely doubled. Department of Conservation

Up until 25 years ago, New Zealand's orange-fronted parakeet, or kākāriki karaka, was believed to be extinct. Now, it's having one of its best breeding seasons in decades, NPR reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Pexels

The world's population will hit 10 billion in just 30 years and all of those people need to eat. To feed that many humans with the resources Earth has, we will have to cut down the amount of beef we eat, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.

Read More Show Less

Beachgoers enjoying a pleasant evening on Georgia's St. Simons Island rushed into the water, despite warnings of sharks, to rescue dozens of short-finned pilot whales that washed ashore on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Six Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested as they blocked off corporations in the UK. The group had increased their actions to week-long nationwide protests.

Read More Show Less
Sari Goodfriend

By Courtney Lindwall

Across the world, tens of thousands of young people are taking to the streets to protest climate inaction. And at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem last month, more than a dozen of them took to the stage.

Read More Show Less
Pumpjacks on Lost Hills Oil Field in California. Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons

By Julia Conley

A national conservation group revealed Wednesday that President Donald Trump's drilling leases on public lands could lead to the release of more carbon emissions than the European Union contributes in an entire year.

Read More Show Less