When Sealord unveiled its new logo in May this year, feedback wasn’t overly kind and elsewhere more than a few comments suggested the company should instead focus on improving its sustainability credentials. Fastforward to July and the company was busy championing its deal to supply McDonald’s restaurants in Europe with Marine Stewardship Council certified hoki fish from New Zealand. But try as it might to churn out the positive PR, Sealord’s ocean practices are never far from the limelight, especially when Greenpeace is keeping a close eye on developments. The organisation yesterday launched a massive outdoor ‘subvertising’ campaign in Auckland to expose Sealord’s sale of tuna caught using destructive fishing methods. The campaign includes posters and banners that feature the new Sealord logo along with the words ‘Nice Logo. Bad Tuna’ that were deployed along main routes into the city and throughout the city centre by volunteers.
Activists also converted the Three Kings water reservoir into a giant Sealord tuna can and labeled it ‘Bad Tuna’. And where would a campaign from Greenpeace be without some activists dressed up as sharks?
The campaign forms part of a larger global effort by Greenpeace urging tuna brands to stop selling tuna caught by industrial fishing vessels using large purse seine nets set around fish aggregation devices (FADs) and to change to more sustainably caught tuna.
“We’re letting consumers know that Sealord is buying its tuna from fishing companies that are needlessly destroying marine life,” says Greenpeace oceans campaigner Karli Thomas.
In response to the campaign Sealord is seeking legal advice and has asked the public to not be “deceived by another example of misleading, extreme activism”.
When Sealord unveiled its new logo this year, chief executive Graham Stuart said the new logo reflected the company’s “values and our responsibility to the ocean that is so integral to our success”.
Three months ago Greenpeace launched a campaign calling on New Zealand’s main brands of canned tuna to stop selling tuna caught using FADs. It claims more than 13,000 emails have been sent to Sealord by customers, urging the company to change its tuna.
For its part, Foodstuffs responded to consumers concerns by announcing on World Oceans Day in June that it will be changing most of its Pams range of canned tuna to FAD-free by the end of the year.
Overseas John West has just committed to phasing out its use of FAD-caught tuna, joining the rest of the UK’s main canned tuna brands which have shifted, or committed to shift, to more sustainably caught tuna.
Most of New Zealand’s canned tuna comes from the Pacific but Greenpeace has said these supplies are now under threat because industrial fishing fleets, which have exhausted tuna stocks in other oceans, are now concentrating their efforts in the Pacific.