Gaming & Technology

Greenpeace tries a game-changer in bid to change tuna industry

In Shark Vs. Mermaid Death Squad, users play as a shark, turtle or manta ray to free unsustainably fished tuna from supermarket shelves.
In Shark Vs. Mermaid Death Squad, users play as a shark, turtle or manta ray to free unsustainably fished tuna from supermarket shelves.

Greenpeace's 8-bit Pacman-like video game Shark vs. Mermaid Death Squad, available online, has been shared by 2 million players. When the game launched in late March, news outlets called it a viral hit after it spread widely over social media with tweets from Mark Bittman, Jared Leto and Games for Change.

During the past month, users have continued to play and share the game, raising awareness of how tuna companies and supermarkets are hurting our oceans.

Greenpeace designed the game to highlight the unsustainable fishing practices of the three major U.S. tuna brands — Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee.

In the game, users may choose to play as a shark, a turtle or a manta ray, and then navigate their way through the 20 major U.S. supermarkets ranked by Greenpeace's annual Carting Away the Oceans Report, starting with the highest scorer, Safeway, and ending with the lowest, Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie. After three lives, users have the option of sending a direct communication to the tuna companies, demanding a stop to destructive fishing practices.

"If we don't change the tuna industry, it will be 'game over' for our oceans," said Greenpeace senior seafood markets campaigner Casson Trenor. "Our hunger for canned tuna, one of the last remaining wild foods, is sending many species to the brink of extinction. Overfishing runs rampant in all oceans from the Pacific to the Indian, and countless animals such as sharks, turtles, rays and juvenile fish of many types are killed every year due to the behavior of the global tuna industry.

"Canned tuna is an affordable source of protein that many families depend on. But if companies like Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee don't change the way they're fishing for tuna, we will lose the ocean ecosystems they depend on, and scarcity will cause the price to skyrocket.

Shark vs. Mermaid Death Squad lets you speak on behalf of the oceans to tell the tuna industry to end its destructive practices. By racing these sharks, rays and turtles through the supermarket aisles to free the tuna before the bad guys get you, you're telling major tuna buyers that you care about where your food comes from."

The 8th CATO report will launch next month, and Greenpeace expects the "levels" to change. The report uses a variety of factors — including the sale of "red list" seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply, and the establishment of cohesive internal policies — to score retailers on a scale of 0 to 10.

"Major retailers' customers want sustainable seafood, but too many supermarkets are lagging behind. We're working to make sure customers know what they're buying and that the seafood available comes from responsible and equitable sources," Greenpeace said.


'Shark vs. Mermaid Death Squad':

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