Sunday, 16 January 2011

Tesco Forced To Change Tuna Labelling

One of the 'dolphin friendly' labels to be changed by Tesco

By Ben Aulakh

British supermarket Tesco has been forced to perform a dramatic U-turn over labelling of its own brand tuna.

The sudden volte-face comes after Greenpeace campaigners exposed that indiscriminate per seine nets used to catch tuna for sale in the supermarket, regularly led to the deaths of shark, dolphin and tortoise.

The revelations exposed as untrue the bold claims made on its own brand tuna labels that ‘Tesco is fully committed to fishing methods which protect the marine environment and its species.’

The labels also contained claims that the methods used to catch the fish were 'dolphin friendly.'

The grocery giant has now promised that it will be phasing out all tuna caught in huge, 3000 litre per seine nets, and that by the end of 2012 all tuna sold its stores will be caught by pole and line, provided that it can be done sustainably.

The labelling issue was exposed on the recently aired ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ series, three programmes shown last week which heavily criticised current fishing methods and policy.

Technical and Trading Law Manager for Tesco, John Gorman, responded to the revelations, put to him in the programme by television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

“I wouldn’t expect to be seeing dolphins caught up in nets, I am shocked by that if that is the case; I would like further details on that so we can address it.

“We’ve made improvements to our labelling and we can see where we want to be in terms of that, we are looking to review and change our labelling in response to what customers want.”

In the programme the Greenpeace campaigners boarded a ship in Ghana, the Cap Lopez, owned by fishing firm TTV.

Workers on board the trawler were candid about the number of shark, dolphin and tortoise killed by their nets.

However TTV have responded to the footage shot on board the Cap Lopez, saying that it was “misleading and untrue.”

They say they are “an approved fishing company who are acting to reduce the negative impact of fishing on the marine environment.”

However Tesco have since ceased all trading with TTV pending an internal investigation.

Photograph by Cobb, from

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