Sunday, 16 January 2011

Tesco Making 'False Claims' Say Greenpeace

By Ben Aulakh

Environmental organisation Greenpeace has labelled claims made by Tesco on its tins of tuna as ‘false and misleading.’

The supermarket giant states on its own-brand labels of the canned fish that it ‘is fully committed to fishing methods which protect the marine environment and its species.’

However Greenpeace say that given Tesco’s use of huge indiscriminate per seine nets, which catch many other species of marine wildlife other than tuna, that these claims are ‘completely untrue.’

The criticism levelled at Tesco comes amid revelations, made in a series of programmes by television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, that Tesco’s suppliers regularly catch dolphin, tortoise and shark in their nets.

The grocery giant also finished fourth out of seven supermarkets and fourth out of nine suppliers of the canned fish overall, in the recent Greenpeace Tuna League Table.

The supermarket would have finished last in the survey, had it not been for a rapid about face on the way its suppliers catch the popular fish.

The verdict, given by Greenpeace on the supermarket in the survey is that, “Tesco has the greatest market share of the retailers and therefore the greatest ability, and the greatest responsibility, to make change.

“However despite this, until now it has made the least effort of all retailers.”

The supermarket was heavily criticised for using FADS, fish aggregating devices used to attract fish, alongside the lethal purse seine nets which for the sharks, rays and juvenile tuna caught up in them, are little more than deathtraps.

The under-fire market leaders have now promised to source all of its own brand tuna via pole and line by 2012, and say they plan to phase out the use of indiscriminate ‘per seine’ nets.

Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer finished joint top of the survey, with Waitrose and the Co-op coming in second and third as all three only stock tuna caught by the pole and line method.

Asda finished behind the market leaders in fifth place; Morrisons were sixth while John West and Princes followed up the rear in seventh and eighth.

Sainsbury's were commended in the survey for “continuing to set the standard on own-label tinned tuna sustainability, as its entire range of canned tuna is sourced from the pole and line catch method.”

Marks and Spencer were given a similar accolade by the environmental organisation.

Sainsbury’s have also been sending information to customers stating that they are “encouraging suppliers to trial more selective fishing gear so that they target the specific we want.

“This reduces wasteful discarding; in the South West new nets have reduced unwanted by-catch by 50 per cent.”

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