Greenpeace activists descended on three Sainsbury's in stores Kensigtoin and Cheslea as part of a nationwide campaign aimed at stopping the supermarket from stocking a well-known brand of tuna.
They stripped shelves in branches in Earl's Court, Cromwell Road and Kensington High Street of John West tuna and replaced them with "Gone West" signs in protest at the "destructive and harmful" methods used by the brand to catch fish.
According to latest Greenpeace figures, 98% of John West tuna is caught using methods which can result in “indiscriminate harm to marine life, including sharks and turtles”.
Activists say Tesco and Waitrose have already threatened to stop stocking John West tuna if the brand “doesn’t clean up its act”, and wants to see the same commitment from Sainsbury’s, which does sell sustainable home-brand tuna.
Will McCallum, head of oceans at Greenpeace, said: “Sainsbury’s presents itself as a supermarket that takes ethics and sustainability seriously. So we’re sending Sainsbury’s a message that it’s ludicrous that they source sustainable fish for their own brand tuna while continuing to stock dirty John West tuna on the next shelf.
"They should change their motto to Taste the Indifference, as they haven’t shown any regard for the oceans or their customers’ view on this. It’s time John West was Gone West.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We are the UK’s leading retailer of sustainable fish.
“We wholeheartedly share Greenpeace’s goal of improving fishing practices across the world, which makes it all the more disappointing to be the sole focus of this campaign.
“John West is working with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to drive up its sustainability status by 2018 and we are closely monitoring the progress.
“We have been absolutely clear that if targets are not met, we will reconsider our relationship with JW.
“But we know it’s more effective to work with JW to improve sustainability rather than simply turning our backs on this issue.”
A spokesperson for John West said “there are no quick or easy solutions when it comes to sustainability” but it working hard and investing to achieve “genuine changes”.
She continued: “We respect Greenpeace’s position – indeed we share their vision for healthy seas for generations to come. However, we cannot support the methods it uses to highlight its campaigns.
“John West and our parent company, Thai Union, are doing everything we can to change our own operations and introduce improvements into the global seafood industry."