The terms 'sustainable', 'green', 'environmentally friendly' are a common part of the vocabulary that we encounter in companies' marketing of their products, and it can often be misleading for you as a consumer.
Therefore, if you want to act more sustainably, it is useful to have the necessary information it takes to see through greenwash in any industry, including the tuna canning industry - because, what exactly is sustainable tuna?
Five simple basic values that set the course for your sustainable choices
When we talk about sustainable tuna, there are several conditions that need to be in place before the definition of the term is truly met. These conditions concern both the fish species, the sea area, the fishing method, the people who are part of the entire work process and the transport route. These are, cut to the bone, the basic values that are important to have with you in your considerations when you have to go out and catch sustainable tuna in both supermarkets and online.
The fish species - a fish that is good at reproducing
When you are looking for sustainable tuna, it is first of all important to know which species of tuna you should go for. Skipjack tuna is here a species of fish that both has a naturally low mercury content and at the same time reproduces quickly, which is why they are often not threatened by overfishing. It is also a nice, small and yellowfin tuna, which is both visually beautiful and delicious in its texture.
Sea area - where the fish thrive
Once you have found out which fish species(s) are doing well, the next step on the way is to get an idea of where these are thriving. The Atlantic is a good example of an ocean that is clean to navigate and where tuna stocks are thriving, fishing rates are at recommended levels, bycatch is minimal and habitat is largely unaffected by the fishing methods used in this area.
Fishing method - "old school" is the new
The most well-known, and infamous, fishing methods are net fishing and bottom trawling, which is why it can sound almost crazy and extremely primitive to talk about fishing with rod and line. It is nevertheless a fishing method that more and more fishermen make use of today.
Pole and line fishing is a method that reduces, almost eliminates, the degree of bycatch and also protects the seabed and thus also the sea's inhabitants. As the saying goes, this method involves only one man, one hook and one tuna.
Good working conditions - sustainability is all about consideration
Sustainability is not only about acting environmentally conscious, but also about embedding a concern for both social equality and economic development in our daily activities. The best sustainable products, including tuna, thus come from places where a good working environment for those who work with the products is paramount. It is about both the men who fish for the fish and the women whose craft help produce the tuna that lands in our basket.
The transport route - sustainable tuna takes no detours
As a consumer, it is also essential to consider where you get your tuna from. Here it is a really good idea to find tuna that has not been out on long detours and that is fished close to the place where they are processed and preserved.
Sustainability is about finding ways to meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Here, the purchase of sustainable tuna is a small, but extremely important, step in the right direction - and if you take the above basic values into your considerations the next time there is tuna on the menu at your home, then you are already well on your way.
Frequently asked questions
What is sustainable tuna?
Tuna species, sea area, fishing method, transport and working conditions are important factors to keep an eye on when you are looking for sustainable tuna.
Sustainable tuna consists of tuna species that are not threatened by overfishing, such as skipjack tuna, and which come from an area of the sea where it thrives. In addition, a tuna is also only sustainable when it has been caught using a fishing method that does not require bycatch, such as rod and line fishing, and has also been fished close to the place where it is subsequently processed and preserved. Finally, it is also important that those who process the caught tuna have good working conditions.