Content Last Updated April 2013
Canned tuna is popular for those who are trying to watch their waistline, and for good reason! One can of tuna provides as much protein as a small steak with a fraction of the calories. We do need to be mindful though, as the consumption of tuna increases, so does the impact on our oceans.
Greenpeace’s Tuna Ranking Guide
Why Should We Be Conscious Of Our Tuna Choices?
If your a tuna lover then check out Greenpeace’s Tuna Ranking Guide available for many different countries including Australia and Canada. Many species of tuna have been listed as endangered which puts our entire ocean’s ecosystem at risk. By making small changes and boycotting the worst offenders, we can all make a difference and encourage unsustainable brands to pick up the slack.
Which Tuna Is Unsustainable?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported in 2011 that of the species most commonly found in cans, which includes yellowfin, skipjack, albacore and bigeye, three are threatened or near-threatened. It is bigeye tuna that is listed as vulnerable and yellowfin and albacore are listed as near threatened.
What About Other Canned Seafood?
For other canned seafood such as salmon, look for The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) symbol which provides the only internationally recognized standard of environmental practices for wild-capture fisheries. It certifies that seafood has come from a fishery that practices sustainable fishing with minimal harm to the environment.
The Top 5 Most Sustainable Tuna Choices for Australia
- Fish 4 Ever – This UK company provides the best example of fair and environmentally sound sourcing of tuna. Fish4Ever pioneered sustainable pole and line caught tuna in Australia and continues to promote fisheries that benefit local communities.
- Safcol – The first Australian company to commit to 100% pole and line caught skipjack tuna, an industry changing move. Safcol genuinely wants to improve the tuna industry and promote’ sustainable methods publicly.
- Greenseas – Has made a positive commitment to stop using destructive fish aggregating devices (FADs) by 2015. Deserves credit for providing financial support to improve Pacific fisheries science and conservation measures.
- John West– Has made a positive commitment to stop using destructive fish aggregating devices (FADs). All tuna will be free school and pole and line by 2015.
- Coles– Commitment to 100% FAD-free and pole & line tuna by 2015 is fantastic news for our oceans especially on top of the supermarket giant adding to its sustainable range this year. Coles is good on labelling and traceability (knowing where its tuna comes from). It is clearly ahead of its main competitor, Woolworths. If you wish to buy Coles, choose its pole and line or albacore range until it has implemented its FAD-free commitment.
For the complete list please see the 2012 Greenpeace Tuna Ranking Guide for Australia.
The Top 5 Most Sustainable Tuna Choices for Canada
- Raincoast Trading – A close relationship with its supply chain, all the way back to the water, combined with rigorous sourcing criteria, demonstrates Raincoast’s eagerness to be a responsible company.
- Wild Planet – The company’s drive to ensure healthier tuna stocks and ocean ecosystems is evident through its engagement, not only with suppliers but with tuna management organizations.
- Canfisco (Gold Seal) – Has begun to rid its products of harmfully fished tuna and has introduced a more sustainable product line. A firm commitment and timeline for a 100 percent switch to more sustainable and equitable tuna will keep this company high up the stack.
- Ocean Band – Has made a commitment and timeline for a 100 percent switch to more sustainable and equitable tuna.
- Safeway (Solid White) – Safeway has shot up in the ranks this year, reflecting the strong steps taken by the company to ensure more sustainable and equitable canned skipjack tuna for its customers. If Safeway builds on this momentum and develops a plan for its full private label tuna offerings, this company can secure its position as a market leader in ocean-friendly tuna.
For the complete Canadian rundown click here.
For other seafood check out The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Seafood Guide. It is a great tool in helping us to make a better choice when it comes to purchasing seafood. Click here
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.