How to choose sustainable tuna

sustainable tuna

Happy Sustainable Seafood Day! To celebrate, I thought we’d take a look at Australia’s favourite tinned fish and how you can make the best choice to ensure its availability in years to come. Sounds like a great party, hey?

Because it’s Friday, I promise not to bang on about overfishing and mercury, instead, I am going to suggest four questions to ask about your tinned tuna so you don’t get bamboozled by the endless options.

Q1: How was this tuna caught?

The best choice for sustainable tuna is that which was caught using a fishing line, as opposed to a trawler or other method that endangers other marine species. Look for “Pole & Line Caught” on the label and /or FAD-free (fish aggregating device).

Q2: Where does it come from?

The world’s food is divided up into areas known as FAOs, (which stands for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).  There are some areas that should not be fished and one of the big drives in recent years has been to improve labelling so consumers know their seafood comes from areas that haven’t been fished dry. Aldi, for example, now offers customers the ability to check up on their tinned tuna through the Trace Your Tuna website.

Q3: What kind of tuna is it?

The tuna we all know and love tends to be yellow-fin, which is on the verge of being over-fished. Although our “local” areas, the Western and Central Pacific, are in a less critical state, for now I suggest you avoid yellow fin tune and look for the more abundant skipjack tuna. Which is equally delicious, I promise.

Q4: Does it get the tick of approval?

If the three questions above make your head spin, look for certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, which ensures the sustainability of tuna and other fish. Certification comes with a tuna-shaped blue tick.

Which is the most sustainable tuna?

Greenpeace releases a tinned tuna ranking every year, which makes it even easier to pick out a winner. As always, Fish4Ever and Safcol are at the top, but I am interested to see Aldi now taking third place. This is due to the company’s commitment to only buying sustainably-sourced tuna by 2016. Aldi has seen MSC certified tinned tuna products, which is pretty impressive. Bottom of the list is Sirena, Woolworths and Sol Mare.

To see how your favourite brand of tuna fared, see the Greenpeace Canned Tuna Ranking.

photo credit: _FUKU77 via photopin cc

4 Responses to How to choose sustainable tuna
  1. Erica Louise
    March 21, 2014 | 8:27 pm

    Very grateful for this post, also pleased to hear Aldi’s tuna comes in at #3 considering this is the only brand we buy

    • (dt)em
      April 3, 2014 | 9:00 pm

      Yeah, I’m impressed with Aldi on this front. They have a good range that includes some of the ready-to-eat tuna snack packs.

  2. Meg Davis
    March 22, 2014 | 7:41 am

    Your information is guiding my development of environmental responsibility. I love your thoroughness, your links, your humour … and your down-to-earthness. Thank you!

    • (dt)em
      April 3, 2014 | 8:59 pm

      Thanks Meg!

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