INVITATION: APRC screening of “Saving our Tuna” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand – 17 July, 7 PM


Hugh Paxton’s Blog enjoys tuna sandwiches, tuna pasta, tuna braised, tuna grilled, tuna salad…in Japan they call it sea chicken. There’s truth to that, tuna is an easy fish to eat, even if you don’t like fish.

In Bali on a dolphin watching excursion in a cranky fishing boat I watched my guide whip his line in, triumphant, with a huge tuna attached. It looked delicious. And I admired the fisherman for his cunning.

He sticks me in his boat, I pay, he carries on fishing as usual and goes home with a tuna. And my cash.

He caught his fish (both me and his tuna) on a local level. I saw the dolphins. No foul.

But I’ve met other tuna hunters who employ different methods. One English chap was a helicopter pilot and he flew ahead of the hunting ships to identify the progression and direction of tuna schools. The missions were military in precision. Tons of fish were sought, found, and duly processed. The tuna were hoovered up.

The Bali man was not out for more tuna than he needed. The big fishing fleets are out for all that they can get before somebody else gets there first. It’s called the tragedy of the commons. What belongs to nobody belongs to anybody. Countries enjoy territorial marine limits on commercial invasion by fishing pirates. But out there, beyond the limits, there is no law. Only Sea Shepard and the Australian and New Zealanders.

The oceans are vast (try finding a Malaysian aircraft and that becomes apparent) and it seems that humanity is capable of taking things too far and when it comes to tuna is doing it. I’ve been informed that the sharks are still taking a bashing and I’m expecting some images in shortly that will make you shudder. They are images taken in southern Thailand close to Myanmar and the man (a Thai) was simply appalled. There were dead sharks everywhere. Reef sharks, hammerheads, tiger sharks(? I wonder about them, they shouldn’t be here), tons of sharks of every description. It was a criminal operation and the man I won’t name was brave enough to go in.

No tuna. These filthy characters were after sharks.

But back to tuna! I am a selfish man and want to continue enjoying a tuna and mayonnaise sandwich with a bit of black pepper, crisp lettuce, hint of tomato, chives, splash of lemon juice and a couple of capers. But I do not want that joy at the expense of a species. Our oceans are being looted and we need to flex our consumer muscles to stop it.

If you are in Bangkok, and have time, attend the following event at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. It’s a sleazy dump and small and will be overcrowded. But I’ll be there and if you can’t make it I’ll let you know what happens.


Hugh from Bangkok!

Importance: High

We are pleased to invite you to:

A Film screening by APRC – Saving our Tuna

7 pm, Thursday July 17, 2014

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand – Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building

518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)

We take it for granted in our lunches. It is served in trendy restaurants. It comes easily to us in tin cans. More than 4.5 million tons of tuna are caught each year as part of a $5 billion industry that is an economic lifeline for many. But for how much longer?

Saving Our Tuna, a new half-hour movie, takes you to the richest fishing grounds on the planet, where fleets of fishing vessels equipped with sonar and sophisticated satellite tracking devices are catching millions of tons of tuna. The race is on to see if technology can also help save this rich resource.

Produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Arrowhead Films for Discovery Channel in Asia, the UNDP will be screening Saving Our Tuna at the FCCT.

Question and Answer session to follow the half-hour movie:

Nicholas Rosellini, UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Jose Padilla, UNDP Water and Oceans Technical Advisor

We look forward to seeing you there!


Caitlin Wiesen-Antin

Regional Manager

Asia-Pacific Regional Centre
United Nations Development Programme
3rd Floor United Nations Service Building
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel.: +66 (0)2 304 9100 ext. 1825
Fax: +66 (0)2 280 2700 Follow us:

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