Greenpeace starts campaign against tuna overfishing
By Kim Tae-jong
International environmental group Greenpeace has launched a campaign here to save tuna, endangered due to overfishing in the Pacific Ocean.
“People may not be able to enjoy tuna anymore if overfishing practices continue,” said Han Jeong-hee, ocean campaigner at the Greenpeace Seoul office. “South Korea has responsibilities for the issue as it is the second largest global tuna catcher after Japan.”
Following their recent protests against nuclear power plants, the recently-opened Seoul office has chosen to fight the rapid decline of the tuna population, saying it is one of the urgent issues that the country should immediately tackle.
She urged the government and related industries here to support sustainable fishery practices.
“The world’s favorite fish has been driven to the brink of extinction due to overfishing and illegal fishing methods. We also want the industry to know the current level of overfishing is obviously a serious threat to their survival in the long-term and to take immediate action for that,” she said.
She called for the government to come up with proper regulations on overfishing and destructive fishing methods and fulfill its obligations as a responsible international player, and for the industry to reduce the amount of tuna caught and abandon destructive fishery methods.
“Some of the measures include halving the number of tuna caught, banning transshipments at sea, and creating a network of marine reserves in international waters between national waters,” she said.
To reach the goal, the environmental group emphasizes the importance of communication with parties involved, especially at an international level.
Yuen Ping Chow, senior ocean campaigner, said they will mobilize all channels to persuade the government, the industry and the public to support sustainable methods as well as continuing ocean campaigns for fishing vessels at the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
She now works at the Seoul office to share her expertise and experience after working for the establishment of an oceans campaign in Taiwan.
“This problem should be solved on different levels. We will continue to directly lobby the government and industry to persuade them to support sustainable measures,” Chow said.
She believes that the industry itself is already aware of the problem, given the fact they’re trying hard to catch enough tuna at the moment.
“But the problem is who wants to take the lead to decrease their catch for a long-term conservation approach. This is the trickiest part because no-one wants to do that,” she said.