News

June 8, 2019

Consumers urged to boycott yellowfin tuna from Indian Ocean over unsustainable fishing

News Source: The Independent

Author(s): Emily Beament

Consumers should avoid yellowfin tuna caught in the Indian Oceanbecause the stock is being overfished and is at risk of collapse, campaigners say.

A report from Blue Marine Foundation said nearly 700 tonnes of mostly fresh or frozen yellowfin tuna is being sold in the UK each year, without customers being told that the fish is unsustainably caught.

While yellowfin stocks in the Western and Central Pacific are strong, tuna in the Indian Ocean is "overfished and at risk of collapse", according to the conservation charity.

Catches continue to rise despite a warning from the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission's (IOTC) scientists that they would have to be cut by 20 per cent to give the stock a 50-50 chance of recovering by 2024.

The Blue Marine Foundation also said a leaked letter showed the South African government had complained to the European Commission that Spain was catching far more than its quota of the fish, breaking EU rules.

Charles Clover, executive director of the foundation, said: "Consumers have been misled by misreporting, 'greenwash' and so-called improvement projects into believing that yellowfin tuna from the Indian Ocean is sustainably caught.

"This report shows that it is not. It has been disgracefully overfished for some time and we now hear that some of what has been on sale may have been illegally caught by EU fleets.

"It is time for consumers to vote with their feet and boycott this product until the European Commission does its job, cuts catches and penalises any countries who have been breaking the rules."

Charles Clover, executive director of the foundation, said: "Consumers have been misled by misreporting, 'greenwash' and so-called improvement projects into believing that yellowfin tuna from the Indian Ocean is sustainably caught.

"This report shows that it is not. It has been disgracefully overfished for some time and we now hear that some of what has been on sale may have been illegally caught by EU fleets.

"It is time for consumers to vote with their feet and boycott this product until the European Commission does its job, cuts catches and penalises any countries who have been breaking the rules."