Campaigners have accused Tesco of stocking a brand of tuna that is caught in a way that can harm other wildlife.
Greenpeace said the supermarket giant pledged in 2012 to ensure all its own brand tuna was sustainably caught.
But the group says Tesco has started to stock tinned tuna from low-cost brand Oriental and Pacific which it says is caught in large nets.
Tesco said Greenpeace was “simply wrong” and the manufacturer said it “totally refutes” the claims.
Greenpeace claimed the brand was “dirty” because tuna in it was caught in big nets, known as purse seines, that could kill sea creatures.
The environmental group said Tesco “must try harder” to make sure tinned tuna was sustainably caught.
Greenpeace said Sainsbury’s was at the forefront of sustainable tuna, and Waitrose, the Co-operative, Marks and Spencer, and Morrisons were also praised.
Ariana Densham, Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner, added: “Morrisons joins Sainsbury’s as a market leader on tuna sustainability. They have eliminated unsustainable tuna from their products, which is great news for sharks, turtles and rays.
“If Tesco wants to catch up with the front runners and win back consumer confidence, they must take this dirty tuna off their shelves today.”
Campaigner and celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who featured the issue on his Fish Fight programme on Channel 4 last night, called on Tesco to take the brand off its shelves.
Tesco said it had moved much faster than many of its competitors to make sure its own-brand tuna was 100% caught using a pole and line, which avoids catching other species by accident.
It said it had also promised to use sustainable tuna in other products such as pastas, sandwiches and salads.
A spokesman said: “Many of our competitors continue to sell non-pole and line caught tuna. Customers have a great choice of sustainable tuna at Tesco.”
LDH, which owns the Oriental and Pacific (O&P) tuna brand, supplies a range of products including canned tomatoes, fish, fruit and vegetables, and dried pasta.
In a statement, the company said: “At least 85% of the tuna we sell is fished using the pole and line method; our O&P brand skipjack tuna is caught using the purse seine fishing method, which accounts for 63% of all tuna caught around the globe.
“Credible scientific research by the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations shows that stocks of skipjack tuna are healthy.
“All of our tuna suppliers are members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and support its research-led initiatives for long-term conservation of tuna stocks.”
Stranded dolphin rescued from muddy inlet
At around 11:40 on Friday 16 February, a lone common dolphin was reported to British Divers Marine Life Rescue circling in the shallows in an inlet at Place, near Portscatho, in Cornwall. A couple of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics were sent down initially to monitor the animal in hope it would be able to get away by itself, and further assess the situation.
After an hour and a half or so of observation, the risk of stranding increased significantly as the tide went out as the inlet is very shallow, muddy and almost completely dries out over low tide. Therefore, a larger response team was dispatched with more equipment in preparation for a stranding. Indeed, the animal did soon strand in the mud and fell onto its side, submerging the blowhole. Luckily the team were on hand to help get it upright again quickly, then bring it ashore for a health assessment and to begin providing first aid. No obvious injuries could be found and it measured 2.03m, later confirmed as female.
The team were soon joined by two vets, who were able to confirm the animal to be in moderate nutritional condition and appeared otherwise okay following a more detailed health check, and so was suitable for the team to attempt to refloat. However, it was not possible to refloat it safely in the inlet due to the nature of the geography, substrate and tide there it seemed the most likely reason this dolphin had stranded was due to getting disoriented in this location, and would struggle to get out again. Luckily a local resident had his boat tender moored nearby and was happy to use it a transport craft to take the dolphin out to deeper water.
With help, the boat was slid across the mud and launched near the mouth of the inlet. A surfboard was placed on one side with a soft mat on top for the dolphin to lie comfortably on during the journey. When ready, the dolphin was carried across in a tarpaulin, transferred to a mesh stretcher and loaded on board with a team of four Medics including a vet.
The boat then carefully made its way out to the mouth of the Percuil River, facing into Carrick Roads and close to open sea, which was the most ideal site for release where the chance of returning and re-stranding was lower. The dolphin was carefully hauled overboard in the stretcher and held alongside briefly, though as she started kicking strongly almost straight away it was hard to keep hold and so she was released quickly. The boat retreated and the team observed her circling in the middle of the channel until she was lost from sight. The team returned to the inlet before darkness fell.
The area will be monitored over the weekend for re-sightings or re-strandings, but it is hoped that she will recover successfully and continue back out to sea. In the meantime BDMLR would like to thank the volunteer team, local residents and members of the public for all their efforts and support throughout this incident.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue is an international marine animal rescue organisation based in the UK and is a registered charity. The aims of the organisation are to provide a rescue service for marine wildlife, to support existing rehabilitation centres and to develop new methods of rescue, treatment, transport and care. Website www.bdmlr.org.uk.
Photos: Dan Jarvis
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