Sealord: Greenpeace misleading public

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
August 28, 2011

Greenpeace is on the offensive — again. This time the target is New Zealand’s Sealord.

But the campaign — part of a worldwide initiative to rid the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) to catch tuna — may be backfiring on the environmental activist organization.

On Monday, dozens of Greenpeace activists littered the thoroughfares of Auckland with hundreds of posters and banners. The posters feature the new Sealord logo along with the tagline, “Nice logo. Bad tuna. Sealord’s canned tuna is caught unsustainably.”

“We’re letting consumers know that Sealord is buying its tuna from fishing companies that are needlessly destroying marine life,” said Greenpeace oceans campaigner Karli Thomas.

But, by the end of the day, the blog entry on the Greenpeace-New Zealand website titled “Nice new logo, Sealord, but what about the tuna?” had been removed.

Then on Tuesday, in an open letter to Greenpeace from the New Zealand law firm Russell McVeagh, Sealord asked the organization to remove “misleading” and “defamatory” information that illegally uses Sealord trademarks.

David Welsh, Sealord’s general manager of New Zealand marketing, said Sealord is standing up to Greenpeace and defending its tuna-fishing practices. “Sealord tuna is sustainable,” he said. Bycatch is very low — 0.16 percent of catch is sharks, and non-tuna species make up 1 to 2 percent of the catch in the Western Pacific. Greenpeace is using our trademarks to mislead the New Zealand public and create publicity. This is wrong.

“All food production has impacts, and the fishing industry is lower than most land-based farming. The people at Sealord work very hard to improve the way we do things and that will be our focus moving forward,” added Welsh.

Greenpeace replied that it’s standing behind all of its accusations. “We believe that the public has the right to know the ecological impact of the food they purchase, in order to make informed choices at the checkout,” said the organization in a statement on Tuesday. “Greenpeace is running a global campaign to stop the indiscriminate practice of fishing with purse seine nets set around FADs.”

Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States are among the countries Greenpeace has targeted with its tuna campaign. On Monday, the National Fisheries Institute stepped up its effort to defend the U.S. canned-tuna industry by circulating an alert to its industry members to set the record straight.

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