This is tuna:

This is also tuna:

© Greenpeace/Alex Hofford

The current webbie on the Esperanza, Richella, has been writing about tuna today. Funny this, as I'd been thinking about tuna myself the last few days (yes, I think about fish a little too much, but probably not as much as certain people I know in the UK office).

In this modern world of fast food and supermarkets, we live far from our sources of food - both geographically and philosophically. When we sit down and eat a steak, we don't think of the animal that it came from, because we never laid eyes on the poor dumb beast.

Likewise, if I'm with friends and the conversation turns to food, then fish, there's a "Hush! Don't mention fish in front of Dave, he's against us eating them". Well, it's not true - I love eating fish - that's why I'm so concerned about the state of the world's fisheries. I explain this to my companions, and detail what's relatively 'safe' to eat, and what's not.

Later in the evening, someone will sidle up to me; "Dave... it's ok to eat tuna isn't it. I mean, it's not like it's really fish, is it?"

I stare at them flatly. "Does milk come from cartons in supermarkets, or cows?".

This is what decades of sucessful marketing has brought us - a complete disconnect between the notion of that delectable soft flesh in a can, and the muscular, fast moving fish of the open ocean. You can blame Richella - she used to work in Marketing:

"I’ve even worked on a tuna campaign before, at an Ad agency, though the focus was rather different. Our client sold fish, just three types of it and wanted to sell much more. The most seductive footage we had was of a majestic tuna being caught on a hook and line. Our job was to convince consumers that the freedom and vitality of the fish could be transferred to them via a can of precooked, pre-flavoured tuna meat." More on Ocean Defenders »

Also today, an article appeared in >today's Independent and on Common Dreams titled Dolphin-Friendly Tuna? Don't Believe It

It makes for shocking reading - even after a couple of years of thinking about fish all the time, I'm still completely unnerved by the states of the world's fishstocks, and how we 'harvest' the fish. Some key quotes from the intro to the article - which you really should read all of:

Where would we be without a tin of tuna? In many kitchen cupboards the ever-ready tuna chunks have become the 21st century's answer to baked beans: quick, tasty, brimming with fatty acids and other healthy things. Sainsbury's alone sells 665,000 tins a week. What is more, this bottomless thirst for tuna fish is shared by most of the world. Between us we ate roughly four million tons of tuna last year.

On many cans you will spot a "dolphin friendly" logo... [creating]... the legend that tuna is a "green" food, healthy for us, healthy for the environment. Hence that happy dolphin. Don't believe a word of it.

Read the rest of the article »

What fish is ok to eat? »

What fish should I avoid? »

How sustainable is your seafood?

Ocean Defenders: Mediterranean tuna expedition »

Ocean Defenders: Pacific tuna expedition » (happening right now!)

“Imagine what people would say if a band of hunters strung a mile of net between two immense all-terrain vehicles and dragged it at speed across the plains of Africa…”. From The End of the Line by Charles Clover »

Our place in the world »

Dolphin-Friendly Tuna? Don't Believe It »

Video: what happens after the tuna has been caught.

Ocean Defenders: From sea to shelf