Seafood Industry Defends Sustainability of Canned Tuna –

Seafood Industry Defends Sustainability of Canned Tuna Published:  29 August, 2011

Greenpeace has launched an international effort to bully grocery stores over sustainability, this time targeting canned tuna.

And while the eco-extremists peddle distortions to U.S. retailers, the National Fisheries Institute is setting the record straight.

In Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Greenpeace has ignored ongoing tuna sustainability work by responsible, international environmental groups and promoted erroneous stories. Its worldwide campaign against canned tuna disregards the latest science and promotes solutions that would negatively increase fishing’s environmental impact.

* The ocean stocks that supply canned tuna are not on the verge of collapse: Renowned scientists say the perception that the world’s tuna stocks are disappearing is quite simply wrong.  Stocks of skipjack, which make up nearly 70% of all the tuna eaten in the U.S., are plentiful.  And stocks of white tuna, Albacore, are not in crisis and have sustainability measures in place to ensure their health.

* Greenpeace exaggerates the amount of bycatch captured by tuna boats: Bycatch statistics from the vast majority of tuna fisheries are in line with, or better than, the performance of other major fisheries and are not creating the catastrophe Greenpeace claims.

* Abandoning Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) is not a sustainability cure-all: Greenpeace wants the major U.S. tuna brands to abandon modern fishing techniques like the use of FADs, while promoting use of poles and lines—a technique that, worldwide, brings in only about 2 percent of the 200 million cases of tuna eaten annually.  No single fishing method is capable of meeting the world’s demand for tuna, so processors use a combination.  FAD free fishing, and to a much lesser extent pole and line fishing, are already part of the overall solution but relying solely on these fishing methods to supply the global market would increase fuel usage and associated carbon footprint, have potential negative impact on bait fishery stocks, limit supply, and ultimately apply price pressure to the most economically sensitive consumers who rely on these products.