As consumers, our choices matter—especially for the health of our oceans.
The U.S. is one of the world’s largest consumers of seafood, and the largest market for canned tuna. This means our supermarkets—where we buy about half of our seafood—are one of the strongest connections to our oceans.
Overfishing and destructive fishing practices have caused the populations of the ocean’s top predators—like sharks, tuna, and swordfish—to drop by as much as 90 percent over the past 50 years.
But this isn’t about forcing consumers to make tough choices. It’s about forcing companies and supermarkets to make meaningful and necessary changes so that the sustainable seafood option is the easiest choice for shoppers.
That’s why we’re telling the companies and retailers that make billions off of the demise of our oceans to change their practices and offer more sustainable seafood.
Spotlight on Tuna
Tuna is one of the world’s favorite fish and a staple in many U.S. households.
Unfortunately, most of the tuna found on supermarket shelves—including well-known brands like Bumblebee and Starkist—come from destructive fishing methods that injure and kill other marine animals and may put workers at risk.
Workers have reported being beaten, abused and forced to work on ships for months or years at a time. Fishing vessels use methods that wreak havoc on marine life. Tuna is even being stored in the same shipping containers as the dirty fuel the ships use, then sold to consumers.
One of the largest tuna brands in the U.S., Chicken of the Sea, is owned by the world’s largest canned tuna company — Thai Union Group. After two years of global pressure, the company recently announced reforms to clean up its supply chains to help protect workers and our oceans. These commitments from Chicken of the Sea send a signal to the rest of the industry that it’s time to do better. Bumble Bee and Starkist must now follow suit.
The United States is the largest canned tuna market in the world, so consumers and ocean advocates here have a major role to play in making things better.
That’s why pushing supermarkets and big tuna brands to switch to sustainable tuna is a critical first step to protecting all marine life.
Already, several progressive retailers are offering sustainably caught and affordable tuna options. Here’s a hint: look for “pole-and-line” or “FAD-free” on the label.
Guides and Rankings
Our Carting Away the Oceans report spotlights which major grocery chains are leaders in sustainable seafood and which are falling behind.
Applauding industry leaders and exposing those lagging behind is key to getting supermarkets to take responsibility and play their part in protecting our oceans.
Is your supermarket selling sustainable seafood? Find out by downloading the Carting Away the Oceans 2015 report.
Largely invisible to the general public, foodservice management (e.g., Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo) and distribution (e.g., Sysco, US Foods, Performance Food Group) companies are part of a massive industry providing for nearly half of the food purchases Americans spend away from home every day.
Our Sea of Distress report evaluates which foodservice companies are leaders in sustainable seafood and which are falling behind. The foodservice industry must to take responsibility and play its part in protecting our oceans and the people who depend on them.
The United States is the largest market for canned tuna in the world. We evaluated 20 well-known brands on their sourcing policies, whether they avoid shark finning and destructive fishing practices, whether they can trace their products back to sea, and how they protect seafood workers’ rights.
Learn more in our Tuna Shopping Guide.