Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Is she in your tuna can?

An AlterNet article by Casson Trenor on tuna fishing practices is a must read. Several species are being sacrificed to provide us with tuna at $1-2 per can.

To cut to the chase, look for this information when you buy canned tuna:

(1) When shopping for "light" tuna, buy pole-and-line or FAD-free seined skipjack.

FADs are devices placed in the ocean to draw small fish, which draw larger fish, and so on. Eventually an entire ecosystem forms around a FAD, an ecosystem that is wiped out when the tuna trawlers come to cash in. Among other unfortunate results, several highly endangered species get caught up in these FAD raids.

(2) When shopping for "white" tuna, buy pole-and-line albacore.

The alternative to pole-and-line is something called "long line" fishing, which uses a net spread wide across sections of the ocean. Yes, you guessed it. Long lines, like FADs, catch up many fish besides the intended catch in their death sweep.

(3) Tuna should be caught in managed waters. Buy tuna from companies that refuse to fish in the high seas pockets.

Fishermen who do not wish to abide by fishing restrictions park their operations in waters outside of international boundaries. What they do, and the havoc they wreak isn't even documented. Let's not support these practices.

(4) Buy tuna from companies that support the PNA.

The PNA is a pact of "Parties to the Nauru Agreement." It turns out that large companies, including, according to the author, Thai Union, the company that owns the American Chicken of the Sea brand, and other companies, are basically ransacking the waters of small countries that are tuna-rich but have no other source of industry. The PNA includes a "number of tuna-rich but cash-poor Pacific island states have banded together in an effort to take charge of their fisheries and to keep the tuna pirates out of their watery backyards."

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