Great news for the ocean: Safeway breaks new ground in sustainable tuna

by John Hocevar

February 10, 2012

[caption id="attachment_484" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Skipjack tuna and bycatch caught in the net of a purse seiner using fish aggregation devices (FADs)"]skipjack tuna[/caption] Greenpeace has been working to get the tuna industry to stop using fishing methods that catch unacceptably high amounts of bycatch particularly of imperiled species like bigeye tuna, sharks,rays, and many others. Chicken of the Sea has been fighting us on this every step of the way, unfortunately, instead of acknowledging the problem and acting responsibly. Today, I am very happy to be able to share some good news. Safeway, one of the largest supermarket chains in the world, has announced that it will now be sourcing its private label skipjack tuna only from fisheries that do not rely on destructive Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). Fish Aggregating Devices act as giant lures, drawing in sea life from juvenile and endangered tuna to sharks, sea turtles and rays which are then scooped up into nets. Safeways announcement means that 4.5 million cans of tuna will now be sourced sustainably, enough to form a tower of tuna cans 92 miles high. In a statement, Safeway says the new policy will stay in place until the industry is able to better address the significant ecosystem impacts associated with purse seine tuna fishing on fish aggregating devices. The big question now is what the rest of the industry will do now that Safeway has proven that it is possible to say no to FADs. At least one major supplier is ready to work with any retailer who is ready to rise to the challenge. Who will be next? Thanks to everyone who has helped us work to make sure that cheap canned tuna doesnt have to come at such a high cost to other marine life. Weve got a long way to go yet, but this is a great step by a company which had already done enough to secure the number one slot in last years Carting Away the Ocean ranking of twenty top US supermarkets.
John Hocevar

By John Hocevar

An accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine biologist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.

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