World Animal Protection says the world's biggest seafood companies must do more to protect ocean animals
TORONTO, March 8, 2018 /CNW/ - A new report released today by World Animal Protection has found that 12 out of the 15 biggest seafood companies in the world do not have clear positions on or solutions to abandoned and lost fishing gear. This lost "ghost gear" kills millions of marine animals every year including whales, dolphins, turtles, seabirds and fish.
The 15 seafood companies featured in the report, Ghosts Beneath the Waves, were ranked from one to five on their commitment to address the problem of ghost gear; with Tier 1 being the best and Tier 5 being the worst.
While none of the companies achieved Tier 1 or 2 status, Canadian giant, High Liner Foods, whose retail branded products are sold throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico under the High Liner, Fisher Boy, Sea Cuisine and C. Wirthy labels, sits at the bottom of the ranking in Tier 5.
"It's disappointing to see such an otherwise progressive and sustainable Canadian leader, as well as a household name brand we all know, lagging behind on protecting animals and fragile ecosystems from ghost gear," says Josey Kitson, Executive Director at World Animal Protection Canada. "By acknowledging this issue and taking simple steps to prevent lost gear in their supply chain, High Liner Foods could be a leader again," she adds.
Other big brands including Young's Seafood in the UK, Thai Union, which has a global portfolio of popular brands including John West and Chicken of the Sea, TriMarine, Bumble Bee Seafoods and Dongwon, South Korea's largest seafood company and owner of the StarKist tuna brand, all out-ranked High Liner Foods.
"The fishing industry is responsible for the creation of ghost gear and lost gear is four times more likely to trap and kill marine animals than all other forms of marine debris combined," says Kitson. "Seafood companies have a responsibility to better protect the wildlife and ecosystems they are impacting. We're inviting Canadians to encourage seafood companies to take action on ghost gear by signing our petition at worldanimalprotection.ca".
Preventing ghost gear is vital:
- More than 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or discarded in the oceans yearly
- Millions of animals are killed by ghost gear including endangered whales and turtles
- Ghost gear is four times more likely to trap and kill an animal than all other types of ocean debris combined
- Durable plastics including ghost gear can persist in an ecosystem for hundreds of years
- 70% of the ocean's macroplastics by weight are fishing related and when gear does decay it contributes to microplastic pollution as well
- Less than half of the largest seafood companies in the report effectively address marine litter, marine waste or bycatch/entanglement
- Just three companies – Young's Seafood, TriMarine and Thai Union have established policies on lost and abandoned fishing gear
To improve a company's ranking World Animal Protection recommends embedding ghost gear mitigation plans into supply chain strategies including:
- Setting up an annual net audit and tracking
- Developing operating procedures for net management and storage
- Providing incentives for salvaging lost or abandoned nets
- Investing in social enterprise for upcycling discarded nets
- Joining the Global Ghost Gear Initiative
About World Animal Protection:
World Animal Protection, formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), is active in more than 50 countries. From our offices around the world, we work with businesses, governments, local partners and animal welfare organizations to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. www.worldanimalprotection.ca
About the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI)
The GGGI is an alliance founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear at a global scale. The GGGI's strength lies in the diversity of its participants including the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Every participant has a critical role to play to mitigate ghost gear locally, regionally and globally. www.ghostgear.org
Notes to editors:
- High resolution photography and B-Roll is available on request
SOURCE World Animal Protection
For further information: and interviews with spokespeople please contact: Beth Sharpe, [email protected], T: 1 416 369 0044 M: 1 647 268 8122