Environmental group accuses John West of breaking tuna pledge

<p>The UK’s biggest tuna brand is falling short of its promise to catch 100% of tuna with pole-and-line method by 2016.</p>

Environmental group Greenpeace has accused the UK's biggest tuna brand of breaking its tuna pledge.

According to Greenpeace, the company is catching just two per cent of its tuna using the pole-and-line method, despite promising in 2011 that 100 per cent of its tuna would be obtained from 'sustainable' techniques by 2016.

The problem with other methods of catching tuna is that they are more likely to kill other animals like sharks and endangered sea turtles.

Greenpeace says 98 per cent of John West tuna was caught using these methods.

However, John West says the supply had reduced significantly and that there was "no longer enough pole-and-line tuna available to meet global demand".

The firm added that it was "fully committed" to protecting the marine environment.

In the latest league table for tuna sold by supermarkets, Greenpeace put John West in last place due to the company's use of "fish aggrevation devices", which can kill other marine species.

Retailers Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's held the top three spots on the table. Greenpeace also pointed out that Tesco had made progress recently and worked its way up to fourth place.

"Irresponsible"

In a statement, John West also disputed the numbers from Greenpeace.

"Our total pole-and-line supply is considerably higher than the Greenpeace league table suggests; much of this is supplied to retailers for their private labels to help them achieve their stretching sustainability targets," it said.

"We believe our commitments are best achieved by employing a number of practices and innovations, all of which will work together to minimise bycatch, protect stock levels, preserve oceans, improve working conditions and ensure safe and legal practices throughout every aspect of our operations,” the company added.

Ariana Densham, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK called John West "irresponsible" and said the company's actions were "undermining" the work of supermarkets to provide consumers with sustainable fish products.

"The tide is turning on companies which sell unsustainable tuna and unless John West keeps its promise to UK consumers to stop using destructive fishing methods, it will find itself cast adrift," she added.

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