Thursday, November 20, 2008

Greenpeace fish head protest

What do you do if you want to save fish? If you're Greenpeace, you dump 5 tons of fish heads in front of the government Fishery Department.

What is the connection between fish heads and better government? According to Greenpeace:

Dead tuna heads for deadbeat tuna managers.

Paris, France — What does it take to get the governments responsible for the imminent collapse of the East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery to wake up and do something? What about a mock "Pirates of the Mediterranean" poster of the responsible ministers in pirate gear in The Economist? How about more than 10,000 emails? OK, how about several tonnes of dead tuna fish heads dumped on the doorstep of the French fisheries ministry?

What do you think? Will this protest be effective? Hard to say, but here's the
National Fisheries Institute response, with an astute critique:

But further along, far from the pun-riddled headlines, reports also say a Greenpeace delegation met with staff members of the agriculture and fisheries minister. But because of Greenpeace's insatiable appetite for inappropriate and illegal publicity stunts (used later to raise funds for the organization) no one is talking about its meeting with agriculture ministry staff. No, they're talking about dead fish heads on the ministry steps.

Once again the messenger has succeeded in upstaging his own message.

Is it true that the tuna head protest was primarily to gain attention and raise money? Well, at the bottom of the webpage describing the action, Greenpeace said:

Ads in the Economist and dead fish heads don't grow on trees. Help us continue to command the attention of decision makers by giving whatever you can.

This is a fairly tight linkage between a protest action and an appeal for donations, making it easy for critics to accuse Greenpeace of focusing only on the money.

Bluefin tuna are in deep trouble, and serious action is needed. Protests may help bring attention to the matter, but is it the right kind of attention? What do you think?

1 comment:

LV said...

Damn, wasting 5 tons of perfectly good food. Assholes! Tuna jawbone is a delicacy, and the meat around the eyes is the best on the fish... Talk about messed up.

I have to pay through the nose to get good tuna heads here and they just waste them.

Oh, on topic. Yeah, their cause is (mostly) a good fight, but they sure aren't so great about their means and messaging. Damn, that's a lot of soup and cheekbones they threw away... *sniff*