March 24, 2017 Leave a comment
Americans really, really love canned tuna fish.
According to the National Fisheries Institute, Americans consumed more than 700 million pounds of canned tuna in 2015. That equates to 2.2 pounds per person annually.
The food remains among the top three seafood items Americans consume each year– and it’s held that ranking for more than 10 years.
But now retailers are saying that there’s something pretty fishy going on in the canned tuna industry and, as is the trend with many other foods, there’s been a renewed focus on how the fish is caught and processed– and where it comes from.
To that effect, on Whole Foods Market recently announced that by next January, all of the canned tuna sold in stores or used in its prepared foods departments will be sourced only from fishers that exclusively use pole-and-line, troll or hand line catch methods. These methods theoretically eliminate the issue of bycatch or the unintentional harvest of other fish, birds or mammals. With Whole Foods’ protocols in place, their fisherman will be catching tuna individually to prevent overfishing.
The chain’s new policy also mandates canned tuna products to originate from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or be sourced from fisheries rated green (best choice) or yellow (good alternative) by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Safina Center.