Greenpeace urges PH-based tuna businesses to improve system and practices

Published August 26, 2020, 4:46 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Greenpeace Southeast Asia is urging Philippine-based tuna canneries to improve their systems and business practices via a study titled “Sustainability and Justice in the High Seas” released Tuesday.

The study showed only one out of six tuna canneries surveyed in the country scored a “good” performance in the aforementioned aspects. 

The report also evaluated nine tuna brands in Thailand and five canneries in Indonesia based on tuna traceability, sustainability of sourcing, legality and labor concerns, social responsibility, sourcing policy, transparency and customer information, and driving change in the industry.

“Tuna stocks globally are experiencing intense pressure from destructive fishing practices and overfishing,” said Greenpeace campaigner Kisha Muaña in a statement.

“At the same time, tuna fishing remains an exceptionally high risk industry. Companies must perform stringent due diligence on sustainability and human rights to ensure that  the tuna industry is socially and environmentally responsible,” she added.

In a span of five years since the first cannery ranking report, Greenpeace noted the companies’ considerable progress towards a more traceable, sustainable and ethical sourcing of tuna. 

However, measures towards a worker-friendly canned tuna industry that is free of abuse are in desperate need of verifiable time-bound commitments.

The group noted that brands and canneries included in the survey have yet to improve  on measures related to the elimination of forced labor at sea.

Greenpeace said these incidents could no longer be overlooked, and seeks a substantial transformation from fisheries production dominated by large-scale, socially and economically unjust, and environmentally destructive methods, to smaller scale, community-based, labor-intensive fisheries that use ecologically responsible selective fishing technology and environmentally sound practices. 

“Creating a just and quality tuna industry for Filipino fisherfolk and consumers is essential to a better normal beyond this pandemic,” Muana said. 

“Tuna canneries have a huge role to play in eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, while ensuring that fishers on board commercial fishing boats are protected from labor abuses,” she added.