Greenpeace Tactics Raise U.S. Industry Ire


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
April 21, 2008

A blog posted Friday on the Greenpeace Web site has raised the ire of executives at the National Fisheries Institute. The blog detailed how Greenpeace attempted to stop U.S. purse seiner Cape Finisterre from fishing in the Western Pacific as part of campaign to protest the state of tuna stocks and the impact of illegal and commercial fishing fleets in the region.

The group painted the side of the Finisterre, a tuna boat, with "tuna overkill" while it was pulling in its nets.

"To pull along side another vessel at sea and paint slogans on its hull is the height of maritime irresponsibility and shows a complete lack of regard for safety," said John Connelly, National Fisheries Institute president, in a press release (NFI). "If you want to talk about sustainability issues there are constructive ways to do it. This is not one of them."

Randi Thomas, VP of Sustainability for NFI's Tuna Council who also serves on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), says Greenpeace's action in the Pacific exposes a lack of understanding about sustainability efforts.

"The United States follows the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). In fact the United States was the leader in establishing the convention. To target U.S. vessels is misguided."

The Convention is one of the first regional fisheries accords adopted since the 1995 U.N. Fish Stocks Agreement.

"Not only does the United States operate under the Convention, we are also a part of the South Pacific Fisheries Treaty," said Thomas. "That treaty includes very strict sustainability provisions agreed upon by the U.S. and 16 Pacific island nations."

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