Wild irony in fish advert

by frog

This advert is on prominent display at Wellington airport. It’s similar to one I noted last year.


The Talley boys’ colourful political views are quite well known, and they are hardly the poster-boys for sustainable wild fishing. For example, this insightful analogy for bottom-trawling – a practice that has caused UK supermarket Waitrose to destock our hoki today:

Fishermen… will be able to put it through the barn doors and pick the three or four biggest cows that he wants. And he will come out of the barn doors. If he likes the look of the farmer’s wife he might take her too. But every now and then, he might knock at the barn door. He might grab the pig and the goat in the corner – but it is far more selective than that analogy.

Ironically, the fish in the Talley’s ad is a yellow fin tuna. Tuna are not farmed in NZ , but they are a wild fishery in trouble and are included on the “red lists” of Greenpeace and Forest and Bird. F&B says:

The main concerns with this fishery are: uncertainty about the state of the stocks, the bycatch of sharks, seabirds and fur seals, and the lack of a stock assessment, catch limits or a management plan. The fishery assessment plenary report states: “On a regional level there are concerns relating to the current status of this stock and the level of fishing effort…. Current catches from the stock are not sustainable under average recruitment conditions.” (Sullivan et al, 2005, p786).

Yet, the Talley’s ad says:


Both captive and wild fisheries will come to realise that their long-term survival hinges completely on truly sustainable management of fish stocks, and much reduced impact on our marine animals. Consumers are demanding nothing less, as evidenced in Waitrose’s decision in the news yesterday.

Consumers even see through attempts to paint sustainability over the exploitative rot, such as our hoki fishery being Marine Stewardship Council certified, despite its use of bottom trawling techniques, despite the fact that 48% of last year’s catch in the largest fishing ground (Chatham Rise) were juveniles, and despite the fact that the fishery kills over 300 fur seals annually, as well as sea lions and dolphins.

I’m all for sustainable fishing, and using certification to market that, but we’re stretching credibility with the constant claims that our wild fisheries are all “responsibly managed for sustainable fishing”.

Metiria’s Marine Animals Protection Law Reform Bill is part of the solution to reducing fishing’s impact on marine mammals and seabirds. It gives the Government a chance to take a key step forward in ensuring the economic sustainability of our fisheries – wild and captive – when it is debated next week. Email your MP requesting their support for it.

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Wed, July 22nd, 2009   

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