Canned tuna is a UK food cupboard staple, bought by nearly 90% of households. As the second biggest consumer in the world, we can have a massive impact on improving the sustainability of the fishing that fills the cans. Unfortunately the provenance of tuna can be difficult to establish. Now however, the world’s first MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)-certified canned American Albacore Tuna can be found on shelves at Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
The MSC-certified product sold in these outlets is supplied by a unique group called the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA). With a lot of persistence and the support of the WWF, AAFA succeeded in becoming the first, and to date the only, tuna fishery on the planet to achieve the highly regarded MSC eco-label. Allowing complete traceability of each and every fish, this certification represents a move that could help save one of the world’s most valuable fish from extinction, as well as the fishing industry that relies on it.
Groups such as AAFA however use traditional methods of fishing that have been handed down through the generations. The AAFA fishermen fish with small tuna boats from June until October. Onboard, every tuna is caught individually by hand, a method far more sustainable. Operating out of 75 vessels, AAFA’s fishermen are responsible for around 50% of the albacore tuna caught using the pole and line method in the North Pacific. What’s more, these waters are home to young fish which have lower levels of mercury and higher levels of omega-3 than other varieties.
So, if you are conscious about the ecological issues surrounding the tuna industry, why not get along and try some of the AAFA product and support their efforts to ensure sustainability of Tuna stocks for future generations.