Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Making a difference is one of the best things about being a journalist

This is the side of a 95-gram can of Sirena tuna that I bought this week and it says that the tuna is 73.5 percent pole-and-line caught. The can underneath this can is a 185-gram can of Sirena tuna I have had for a fairly long time but it says nothing about the method of fishing. The reason why it doesn't say anything about the fishing method is the same reason Sirena used to come last in Greenpeace's canned tuna ranking system, because it was once caught in industrial-sized fishing nets using fish aggregating devices (FADs), which are both ways designed to maximise bycatch (the capture of animals other than mature tuna, such as for example dolphins and turtles).

I used to write stories for magazines, and I did two stories back in 2010 on tuna fishing. One of them, for the National Times (a now-defunct Fairfax publication) is linked here and is titled 'Can shoppers save the tuna'? It seems some people were listening, not unimportantly the folks at Sirena, because pole-and-line fishing was a fishing method I discussed in the story as a sustainable way to catch this particular type of fish. Tuna is rare and getting rarer.

It's a great feeling to know you have been part of something big that has made the world better. Hopefully all other food companies around the world who sell canned tuna can also get on-board and mandate better ways of staying in business. We certainly don't want to run out of fish, although the way things are going it's a very real possibility that wild fish will become unavailable in the not-so-distant future. I talk about these things in the story if you're interested.

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