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Canned Tuna survey concludes Thai domestic brands fall short on traceability standards

BANGKOK: In its first-ever Thailand canned tuna traceability report, Greenpeace Southeast Asia claims that the vast majority of canned tuna on the domestic Thai market does not meet sustainability and equitability standards.

Thursday 1 October 2015, 06:25PM


A yellowfin tuna is loaded onto a truck in West Java. A lot of the tuna caught in the region is processed in Thailand and distributed around the world. Photo: Wibowo Djatmiko

A yellowfin tuna is loaded onto a truck in West Java. A lot of the tuna caught in the region is processed in Thailand and distributed around the world. Photo: Wibowo Djatmiko

Titled “From Sea to Can: Thailand Canned Tuna Ranking” a Greenpeace report released on Tuesday (September 29) evaluated traceability, sustainability, and equity issues for 14 canned tuna brands found on Thai supermarket shelves.

The brands were TCB, King’s Kitchen, Nautilus, Sea Crown, Sealect, Ocean Wave, Tesco-Lotus, Aro, Brook, Tops, Ayam, Big C, Home Fresh Mart and Roza.

The report gave failing scores to the five latter brands, on the basis that the respective canning companies did not actively participate in the survey and/or that clear and reliable information about the products was not readily available to the public.

Moreover, the report did not award a “good score” to any of the brands surveyed.

“It is vital for canned tuna companies to ensure that their tuna can be traceable to where and how they were caught, whether it is linked to transshipment at sea, illegal fishing, destructive fishing methods, or forced labor issues,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia Oceans Campaigner Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul stated in a press release.

“Implementing a traceability policy is an initial and significant step towards protecting the health of our ocean. It will help lessen illegal and destructive fishing practices as well as human rights violations throughout the supply chain.”

Based on the survey response, the tuna ranking looked at the sourcing policies and practices of the 14 brands, including whether the fishing method used to catch their tuna harms other marine life, whether they avoid shark finning, and whether they can trace their products back to the sea.

In addition, Greenpeace examined how equitable and socially responsible the brands are.

Poor working conditions are systemic in the tuna industry, and in the worst cases, human rights violations and human trafficking take place.

According to the report, Thailand is currently the largest processor of tuna in the world. The country is also the world’s largest tuna importer, importing between 800,000 to 850,000 metric tonnes of tuna per year (2008 data) to supply over 50 processing plants all specializing in tuna processing; 90% of these imports originate from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and the remainder from the West Indian Ocean.

Recent, numerous reports have implicated Thailand in problems associated with human rights abuses and human trafficking in the seafood supply chain. This year, the United States has also maintained Thailand’s designation as a Tier 3 country, which is the worst possible ranking in the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP).

To view ‘From Sea to Can: Thailand Canned Tuna Ranking’ full report, click here.

 

 

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