frequently asked questions
Are there any sustainable canned tuna brands?
Absolutely! Did you know that over the past two years, every major tuna brand in the UK has pledged to transition to sustainable practices? The US industry needs to listen to consumers and take this kind of initiative as well!
In the meantime, there are some smaller tuna companies like Wild Planet, American Tuna, and some others that are doing a much better job here in the US. They-re not perfect – and they are more expensive – but they are leagues ahead of Chicken of the Sea and the other massive conventional canned tuna producers.
Can you suggest a sustainable alternative to tuna? Can I make "tuna salad" with it?
Sure! There are dozens of recipes for "mock tuna salad" scattered around on the internet. There are also some other canned fish – wild Alaskan salmon, for example – that is caught in a much more sustainable manner than the way companies like Chicken of the Sea are ransacking our tuna populations. Does it taste the same? No, probably not, but who knows... it might be even better.
I'm a vegetarian, why should I care about sustainable seafood?
Vegetarian or not, our oceans belong to all of us. Even if you don't eat fish, you can help spread the word about sustainable options and communicate the truth about Chicken of the Sea's destructive behavior to your friends and family. We need to work together and sound the alarm – it's up to all of us to save the oceans!
You talk about baby tuna. At what age/size are tuna acceptable to eat?
It's different for each species, but it's important to allow these animals an opportunity to mature and breed so they can help rebuild their populations. Larger tuna species like bigeye live relatively long lives and reproduce later than smaller tuna, such as skipjack and albacore. Fish aggregation devices in combination with giant purse seine nets catch thousands of tons of juveniles, stealing the bigeye populations' ability to stabilize. We need tuna companies to stop using FADs so we can be sure that the tuna cans we buy at the store don't in fact contain baby bigeye tuna that never had a chance to grow and to breed – until this happens, the chances that bigeye tuna will recover from their vulnerable state will continue to dwindle.
Why target Chicken of the Sea? Isn't all canned tuna the same?
Unfortunately, all the main US tuna brands are engaged in the same destructive fishing methods using fish aggregating devices and purse seine nets, as well as conventional longlines. These types of fishing kill countless sharks, turtles, rays, marlin and baby tuna. But Chicken of the Sea is one of the largest tuna brands in the largest tuna market in the world. Its parent company, Thai Union, is one of the largest tuna producers on the globe. Other UK based subsidiaries of Thai Union have already made a commitment to sustainable fishing methods. If it can be done in other countries, it can happen here. US consumers deserve the same responsibly caught tuna their British counterparts have access to. Get the truth behind Chicken of the Sea's "commitment to sustainability."
Is there a difference between canned tuna and fresh tuna?
Fresh tuna tends to be more costly. The fish we often refer to as "ahi" is generally yellowfin or bigeye tuna, which tend to be more overfished than the tunas used for canning, such as skipjack and albacore.
The highly prized bluefin tuna is in an even worse predicament, having been hunted almost to extinction. Bluefin is almost exclusively sourced by the sushi industry. While skipjack makes up the bulk of "light" canned tuna, yellowfin and bigeye are often found in cans of tuna because of the indiscriminate nature of FAD-associated seining.
Is this a boycott?
No, Greenpeace doesn't want people to stop eating tuna, just to eat tuna that has been caught in a more sustainable way. Consumers in Britain told their tuna companies they didn't want to eat tuna that was caught in a way that killed turtles, sharks, rays, and decimated baby tuna stock. Consumers in the US can do the same.
Greenpeace wants to ensure a healthy ocean that can provide fish for the future for consumers and the many who rely on tuna for their livelihood and food.
Isn't tuna "Dolphin Safe" now? Wasn't that campaign won?
By the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of dolphins were being killed each year by tuna fishermen setting their enormous purse seine nets around dolphins in order to catch the tuna that travelled with them. Greenpeace launched a campaign to stop the slaughter, and along with many other groups, succeeded in getting the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 passed. By the time the US passed the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act in 1990 the number of dolphins being killed in tuna fisheries had dropped to around 2,500 a year. By 1996, the level of dolphin mortality from tuna fishing was close to 0.1 percent.
Sadly, in moving away from types of fishing that harmed dolphins, the industry looked to fish aggregating devices, a method that kills huge amounts of 'bycatch' of other fish, including sharks, rays, marlins and baby tuna.
But the industry has done the right thing in the past, proving itself adaptable and responsive to consumer demand. It's time to do that again and shift to more sustainable methods of catching tuna.
"The real problem is giving ourselves high fives for solving the tuna dolphin problem when we've just
created other problems."
- Associate Professor Timothy Essington, University of Washington