ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have been taking John West tuna from the shelves of Sainsbury’s in protest against fishing techniques.
Members of Greenpeace say that John West tuna is not caught “sustainably” and they want the supermarket to stop stocking it.
Campaigners have been going round several stores in Edinburgh and Glasgow to remove the product from shelves.
They have also put signs up around the stores which appear to mimic Sainsbury’s branding to suggest that the supermarket no longer stocks John West tuna.
The signs ask shoppers to tweet Sainsbury’s, and ask them to drop what they call the “destructive brand”.
Sainsbury’s have said they will consider dropping the brand if John West don’t meet targets, but believe it’s more “effective” to work with them to tackle issues, rather than just drop their products.
A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “Across the UK and in Edinburgh for example, members of Greenpeace are being a bit crafty and are moving John West tuna to other places in Sainsbury’s stores, and hiding them.
“They are then redressing the shelves with information about the tuna.
“Staff are clearly annoyed by the practice, store managers are broadly stonewalling it and ignoring it on social media.
“In 2011, John West promised consumers it would go 100% sustainable, but Greenpeace revealed last year that just 2% of their tuna was caught using sustainable methods.”
Sainsbury’s said they were disappointed to be the focus of Greenpeace’s campaign.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket said: “We wholeheartedly share Greenpeace’s goal of improving fishing practices across the world, which makes it all the more disappointing to be the sole focus of this campaign. We are the UK’s leading retailer of sustainable fish.
“John West is working with WWF to drive up its sustainability status by 2018 and we are closely monitoring the progress. We have been absolutely clear that If targets are not met, we will reconsider our relationship with John West.
“But we know it’s more effective to work with businesses to tackle issues rather than simply turning our backs.”
On social media, reaction to Greenpeace’s campaign was mixed.
Writing on Facebook, several users supported the action.
Jayne Gill said: “Consider Sainsbury’s boycotted.”
Zak Mepham added: “I will now use Sainsbury’s as little as possible.”
But other Facebook users questioned why Greenpeace were targeting Sainsbury’s specifically.
Andrew Quick said: “But it’s not just Sainsbury’s that sells John West. It’s odd that you have
only targeted them.”
Kethis Kandasamy added: “Boycotting Sainsbury’s won’t work, but all for boycotting John West tuna as that might.”
Greenpeace have been embroiled in a long battle with John West because they accuse the company of using “fish aggregation devices” to catch tuna, which kill other marine wildlife including sharks and endangered turtles.
A spokeswoman for John West said: “We respect Greenpeace’s position – indeed we share their vision for healthy seas for generations to come.
“However, we cannot support the methods it uses to highlight its campaigns. John West and our parent company, Thai Union, are doing everything we can to change our own operations and introduce improvements into the global seafood industry.
“For tuna in particular, we are working with many different stakeholders to implement Fishery Improvement Projects that will ensure sustainability and bring tuna fisheries to the level of the MSC standard. Greenpeace knows this – we meet with them regularly.”