Always low prices. Not always sustainable.
by Casson Trenor
October 10, 2012
[caption id="attachment_484" align="alignright" width="600" caption="Skipjack tuna and bycatch caught in the net of a purse seiner using fish aggregation devices (FADs)"][/caption] Walmart's own brand of tuna might be low cost. But it comes at a high price to our oceans. Thats because what youll find inside a can of Walmarts Great Value tuna has been caught in the some of the most destructive ways imaginable. These destructive fishing practices unnecessarily kill tens of thousands of sharks, sea turtles, rays and other sea creatures every year. It doesnt have to be this way even for a company as big as Walmart. Safeway just recently began selling sustainably-sourced tuna under its own label on a national scale. This "Responsibly Caught" Safeway Select tuna also costs less than cans from major companies like Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea. We know it can be done and its time for Walmart to do the same thing. Walmart is such a large buyer that it could force the entire canned tuna industry to change. Were talking about altering industrial fishing practices on the scale necessary to actually save our oceans. Its what consumers want, and Safeway has already proven that it can be done in a cost-effective manner. Companies like Chicken of the Sea are blocking progress by wanting to continue with business as usual: yanking tuna out of our oceans by any means necessary and slaughtering anything else that gets in the way. Walmart has the power to get the tuna industry to clean up its act, but it is going to need to hear from the public first before it does anything. Destructive fishing practices are one of the biggest threats facing our oceans right now. The use of fish-aggregating devices (FADs) is particularly gruesome. FADs, which are basically floating objects placed in the ocean, don't just attract tuna. They attract all sorts of life including sharks, sea turtles and a bunch of other species. When the ship returns, it scoops up everything that has gathered around the FAD with a net. Hardly anything is spared in this process, and the crews just toss the lifeless remains of whatever they dont want back into the ocean. Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee and Starkist all catch their tuna in this way. Safeway doesnt. Hopefully, Walmart will follow their lead after they hear from enough people like you.