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One of Australia's largest canned tuna brands has pledged to drop a harmful fishing method, and other brands are being urged to follow suit.
Tuna brand Greenseas announced today it would no longer use Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) with its purse seine net fishing operations by 2015.
FADs attract fish to a central point to be collected by large nets, ensuring more endangered species are caught.
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The combined method of purse seine net fishing and FADs causes the widespread death of endangered species, including sharks, rays, dolphins and turtles.
"It's a big decision, it's a bold one for us and it's an important one for the business, but we feel it's the most important thing we can do to ensure sustainable canned tuna in Australia in the years to come," Heinz Australia corporate affairs manager Jessica Ramsden told reporters at the announcement at Bondi.
Greenseas' commitment to go FAD-free was the first of any major canned tuna brand in Australia, Ms Ramsden added.
"There are very few canned tuna brands in the world that have made this commitment," she said.
Greenpeace oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said he hoped the move would encourage the Australian industry to make the change.
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Eight out of 10 Australian canned tuna brands, including John West, Woolworths and Coles, continue to source tuna using a combination of purse seine nets with FADs.
"Australian brands can make those changes and Greenseas is demonstrating that. We would like the rest of the industry in Australia to follow suit as the whole UK market has done," Mr Pelle said.
"If anything, they have a stronger reason to act because these unsustainable practices are happening right on our own doorstep."
Local primary school children dressed up as endangered fish demonstrated the devastating effects purse seine net fishing with FADs has on marine-life to an audience on Bondi Beach today.
The method was "absolutely unacceptable", Mr Pelle said.
"If Australian brands demand sustainable tuna, producers will respond."
Earlier this year, tuna brand Safcol dropped purse seine net fishing entirely and moved to 100 per cent pole and line caught tuna - the least harmful method.
Safcol marketing manager Deane de Villiers said the move had generated a "very very positive response" from consumers.
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"If the industry keeps going the way it's going, and if you listen to Greenpeace and the scientists, your kids are not going to have tuna," Mr de Villiers told reporters.
"We took tough decisions, we worked hard on it. It was a long hard slog, but we got there."