Bluefin tuna removed after protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 March, 2010, 12:00am

Supermarket chain City'super removed bluefin tuna from its fridges after more than 150 members of a facebook group threatened to boycott the shop if it continued to sell the critically endangered fish.

But the group fears the action by City'super may be temporary.

The removal came after members of the group began sending letters to the supermarket chain in February, criticising it for failing to live up to its pledge to provide environmentally responsible products and its commitment to sustainable practices.

Bluefin tuna, popularly consumed raw as sushi and sashimi, is listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list after stocks of the fish plunged by 75 per cent in the Mediterranean.

City'super removed bluefin tuna, which had been sold for between HK$100 and HK$300 per 100 grams, from its stores earlier this month but it never replied to the group's letters.

A spokesman for City'super confirmed it suspended sales of bluefin tuna at its branches but would not say whether the action was taken because of the complaints. It refused to say how long the suspension would be in force.

Gary Stokes, of the facebook group, said members feared the supermarket's action was only temporary as it had given no indication that it would no longer stock bluefin tuna.

Last week a proposal to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna was rejected at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Doha, Qatar.

'City'super should show its moral integrity and social environmental responsibility by removing the fish from shelves permanently,' Stokes said. 'The question City'Super has to ask is: does it want to be responsible for making a profit from selling critically endangered species.'

Haley Followfield, once a regular shopper at City'super, boycotted the chain after she found it selling bluefin tuna about a month ago.

'We will praise City'super if it takes bluefin off the shelves permanently but condemn it if the removal is for a short period,' she said.

Stokes said if the supermarket resumed sales of bluefin tuna, members of the group would boycott the supermarket and hold protests.

The Environmental Protection Department said it did not plan to amend rules over the import and selling of bluefin tuna as the proposed trade ban had been rejected at Doha.

Species alert

Bluefin tuna is listed as critically endangered. Stocks of the fish in the Mediterranean plunged by: 75%