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Greenpeace: Korean Companys Role in Tuna Decline

Sustainability Politics +2 more

SOUTH KOREA - Greenpeace has criticised South Korean company Sajo for its role in the decline of Pacific tuna stocks and the indiscriminate killing of thousands of sharks, turtles and other marine life unwanted by the industry, but hauled on board as bycatch.

The Greenpeace criticism follows years of failure by the South Korean fishing industry to support sustainable management of Pacific tunastocks.

Greenpeace stated that, just last year, Korea helped derail a major proposal by Pacific island nations at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that would have helped rescue Pacific tuna. Meanwhile, two key species of tuna in the region, bigeye and yellowfin, are now being overfished.

Sajo is the largest fishing company in Korea and the third largest fishing company in the world, with seven purse seiners, 79 long-liners and two motherships operating in the Pacific. Some of Sajo's fishing vessels have been caught in illegal activities.

"We are drawing a line against Sajos corporate greed. When our tuna is being depleted by companies to the point of collapse, it is time for governments to intervene and ensure we still have tuna left for the future," said Lagi Toribau, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace.

Greenpeace state that despite calls from scientists to reduce fish catches since 2001, record numbers of fish have been hauled out of the Pacific in the last three consecutive years. Both an increase fleet capacity and the use of wasteful fishing methods for finding and capturing tuna, such asfish aggregation devices (FADs) - man-made objects used to attract tuna to purse seine fishing nets - are largely to blame.

"Greenpeace is calling on the South Korean government to start properly regulating its fishing fleet, and to fulfill its obligations as a responsible international player."

"This year, the government has an opportunity to show some leadership by supporting conservation measures at the scientific forum of the Tuna Commission in August and the annual Tuna Commission meeting in December," Mr Toribau added.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the worlds oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health.

The Rainbow Warrior is currently in Busan to raise awareness on overfishing and oceans destruction. The ship recently concluded its "Nuclear-Free Korea" campaign showing solidarity for communities living under the constant threat of a nuclear meltdown.

Celebrating its 40th founding anniversary, Greenpeace recently inaugurated its Seoul office which will introduce campaigns on climate and energy as well as protection of our oceans.