Oceana Canada says illegal fishing is also a human rights issue

Who: Oceana Canada, with Elemental for strategy, creative and media.

What: A new campaign in support of Oceana’s efforts to fight “Seafood Fraud.” The focus for 2022 is on the human rights abuses associated with illegal fishing.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, with a 60-second film/ad, complemented by shorter 15-second videos and static executions running online and social. The highly optimized buy is targeting what Elemental describes as a “high-performing, highly engaged demographic” that is likely to sign a petition.

Why:  Elemental has been working on Oceana Canada’s “Seafood Fraud” campaign for the past five years. While Canada has committed to providing “full boat-to-plate traceability,” it has taken no firm action, and most Canadians are worried about illegal fishing, explained creative director Elizabeth Dundas Hall.

Canadians also know little about the human rights abuses that power the illegal fishing industry. “Because they’re in the dark about the extent of criminal activity in the industry, Canadians unwittingly spend up to $160 million a year on seafood derived from illegal fishing practices,” she said.  

How: The campaign uses portholes as a way of showing viewers what is really happening at sea, calling on Canadians to demand more transparency around the fisheries industry and sign a petition calling on the government to act on “boat-to-plate traceability.”

The anchor for the campaign is a a 60-second film called “The Catch.”“The film shows the path that some seafood in Canada can take from the boat to a local restaurant’s plate, revealing scenes of kidnapped, vulnerable people in forced labour,” said Dundas Hall. It also highlights destructive practices like overfishing, mislabelling, and fishing of endangered species.

“It then offers a strong, action-oriented solution to #StopSeafoodExploitation and support responsible fishers by signing a petition demanding boat-to-plate traceability for all seafood sold in Canada,” said Hall.

Shorter social posts also let viewers peer through a porthole at the ugliness of illegal fishing, with headlines like: “Sourced with forced labour. Served on your plate,” along with the #StopSeafoodExploitation hashtag.

And we quote: “Right now, an endangered species of fish caught by forced labour on a vessel fishing illegally can make its way onto Canadian supermarket shelves or restaurant plates, with no way for Canadians to know its true origin.”— Elizabeth Dundas Hall, creative director, Elemental

David Brown