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John West sets tuna sustainability targets

Sustainable food news – by GreenWise staff
26th July 2011
UK canned seafood manufacturer John West, once branded 'John Worst’ by Greenpeace for its poor record on sourcing tuna responsibly, will today launch a five-year plan to source the depleted fish stock more sustainably and will announce the launch of a new range of pole and line sourced tuna products.
In what John West is describing as a "step change" in its business, the UK’s biggest tuna brand will unveil a detailed sustainability plan, setting out a number of targets over the next five years to increase its pole and line caught tuna and stop its practice of buying catches where fish aggregating devices (FADs) are used by the 'purse seine’ tuna industry.

Today’s plan is the result of working closely with Greenpeace and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). It will see the company, by 2016, only sourcing tuna caught in deep nets, called purse seine, where no FADs have been used. FADs are floating structures that attract fish. They are widely used by the purse seine tuna industry. FADs have been blamed for reducing tuna and other fish stocks because they increase the catch of juvenile skipjack tuna and, in a practice called by-catch, deplete other species such as juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, sharks and turtles.

"The launch of our genuine transparent and detailed plan for tuna sustainability marks a step change in our business. We will need full support of boat owners, retailers and consumers to meet our goals," said Paul Reenan, managing director, John West. "We know we have a long way to go to meet these challenging targets, but we are committed to continuing to place sustainable fishing practices at the heart of our business."

Setting the bar
Three years ago John West came bottom of a Greenpeace tuna sustainability league table, when the NGO exposed the UK tinned tuna trade, which is the second biggest in the world after the USA. Today, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, described the leading tuna brand’s sustainability plan as "setting the bar" for the rest of the industry.

"These welcome commitments from John West complete the ground-breaking shifts seen in the UK since Greenpeace's tinned tuna campaign launched in January," said Sauven. "Historic changes have taken place in the UK, the world's second largest consumer of tuna. The time is ripe for companies worldwide to deliver sustainable tuna in a way that protects tuna stocks and our oceans."

Sustainability plan
The John West tuna sustainability plan encompasses a number of initiatives and starts immediately. Under it, John West has committed to sourcing 25 per cent of its UK tuna sales from pole and line by the end of 2012, increasing to 35 per cent by 2013 and 50 per cent by 2014. As an interim measure, from 2013, John West says it will only buy tuna purse seined on FADs where the boats are able to provide year-on-year best practice qualified audits of by-catch levels, and have agreed to adopt measures to ensure 50 per cent by-catch reduction by 2014. By 2016, John West has pledged to source 100 per cent of its UK tuna sales from properly audited pole and line and/or FAD-free purse seine by the end of 2016.

New range 
As part of the same programme, from September 2011, John West will roll out across supermarkets nationwide a new range of pole and line sourced tuna chunks.
The initial John West pole and line range will comprise of 185 grams tinned tuna chunks and 3x80g tinned tuna chunk packs.

John West will also today announce the launch a range of salmon, mackerel and sardines, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

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John West sets tuna sustainability targets
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