Tuna

Tuna is one of the world's favourite fish and a staple in many Canadian households. Tuna provides a critical source of protein for millions of people across the globe. As a top predator in marine food chains, tuna holds a unique place in ocean ecosystems. But growing demand is pushing tuna and other species impacted by destructive tuna fishing practices beyond their limits.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported in 2011 that of the species most commonly found in cans (yellowfin, skipjack, albacore and bigeye) three are threatened or near threatened. Bigeye is listed as vulnerable and yellowfin and albacore are listed as near threatened. Vulnerable species could face global extinction and near threatened species are close to the threatened threshold or would be threatened without ongoing conservation measures. As tuna fleets continue to overfish bigeye, yellowfin and albacore, they are all at risk.

Tuna stocks are also threatened by destructive methods used mainly to catch skipjack‒the most abundant tuna species. Purse seine fleets often set giant nets around floating objects known as Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). FADs are placed in the open ocean to attract tuna. They not only attract adult tuna, but  baby bigeye and yellowfin, which places more pressure on these stocks. FAD use also kills more than just tuna.

Sharks, rays, trigger fish, marlin, and sea turtles are also caught as a result of FAD use. Longlines with thousands of baited hooks lure sea turtles, sharks, and seabirds. This is why the tuna industry catches millions of these marine creatures each year. They are often thrown back to sea dead or dying.

There is a solution. Greenpeace is working to transform the tuna markets so that tuna is sourced by sustainable and equitable means. In Canada, we are pushing major tuna brands and supermarket chains to change their tuna. We are targeting Clover Leaf Seafoods, Canada’s largest brand of unsustainable tuna.

How Greenpeace works to ensure tuna for tomorrow

Challenging the marketplace: We urge companies to adopt a strong tuna procurement policy. We demaind that they commit to sourcing from sustainable fishing methods like pole and line and FAD-free purse seining. We also ask companies to support marine protection by not sourcing tuna from proposed marine reserve areas like the Pacific Commons of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Each year, we evaluate and rank 14 of the major brands on their performance on reducing their tuna footprint.

Working with change-makers: Greenpeace works with progressive coastal nations and companies to reclaim their fisheries, move to more sustainable fishing methods to protect livelihoods and tuna at the same time.

Informing consumers: Ignorance isn’t always bliss. We reach out to consumers and the public to help educate them through on-the-ground awareness activities, published reports, online engagement, and invite them to use their voices for positive change. 

Pressuring global governments: We lobby member countries of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in charge of managing tuna to reduce the amount of tuna caught, combat illegal fishing, adopt precautionary and ecosystem-based management measures, and to ban the use of destructive fishing gear like the FADs used in purse seining.

Expose ocean destroyers: With Greenpeace’s ships and ability to be present on the water, we are able to witness and provide first-hand accounts and images of wasteful, and often illegal, practices at sea.

The latest updates

 

DFO still doesn't get what endangered or overfished means

Blog entry by Sarah King, oceans campaign coordinator | November 4, 2014

This week, the federal government informed the CBC that the western population of Atlantic bluefin tuna could support a moderate increase, suggesting that they may be pushing for an increase in quota this year. Since bluefin tuna is...

Urging Clover Leaf Seafoods to be less scary this Halloween

Blog entry by Sarah King, oceans campaign coordinator | October 30, 2014

If you’re looking for a Halloween fright, you’d be surprised to learn where gore and terror might be lurking in your everyday life. The canned tuna aisle is rife with creepy, hidden secrets. And your shopping cart could be too. The way...

Podcast: Why canned tuna is so popular & how to buy it sustainably

Blog entry by Mary Ambrose | October 7, 2014

Why is tuna served in every cafeteria and at every buffet?   Joanna Solotoff    tells us how this happened  (spoiler alert: not an accident ) and creates one of those early dishes.  For way more about how tuna became the 'go to'...

Wait, don’t buy that cr@p, check Greenpeace’s tuna app!

Blog entry by Sarah King, Oceans campaign coordinator | August 7, 2014

Canada’s tuna huggers have gone high-tech. Today we released our Sustainable Canned Tuna Guide app that will make it easier for tuna consumers to determine which products are ocean-friendly while in the canned seafood aisle of their...

Shipment of whale meat from Iceland arrives in Japan

Blog entry by Junichi Sato, Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan | May 8, 2014

We had a strange visitor to Japan yesterday, the Alma, a refrigerated cargo vessel which has sailed all the way from Iceland carrying 2,000 tons of fin whale meat, valued at over 13 million US dollars. It sailed around the tip of...

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