Plenty of Other Tuna in the Sea
Go inside the sustainable tuna revolution.
When I was a kid, canned tuna was a staple of every kitchen pantry. Tuna fish sandwiches were mayonnaise- drenched, white- breadencased mainstays of the lunch box, and tuna- noodle casseroles, imbued with canned soup and embellished with crushed potato chips, made regular appearances on American dinner tables. No one seemed to question where that tuna came from, how it was caught, or what was in it.
Fast forward 50 years, and all this has changed for the better. Food transparency, sustainability, and environmental awareness have become the norm. Welcome to the new world of canned and jarred tuna! Here are three “Dos” to consider when shopping for canned tuna:
Look for the Blue MSC Label. The Marine Stewardship Council is an international nonprofit organization that uses its ecolabel and fishery certification program to recognize and reward sustainable fi shing practices, based on scientifi c methods and measures.
Know Your Fishing Methods. There are some that are acceptable and preferable— that would be pole- and- line harvested and trollcaught— and some that are not, specifi cally purse- seine and long- line methods. If a tuna container doesn’t specify the catch method or display the MSC label, the manufacturer likely uses one of these undesirable methods to obtain its fi sh. When in doubt, check out the company’s website.
Employ Traceability. The highestrated products allow you to track the container of tuna in your hand all the way back to the boat that landed that
albacore or yellowfin. This ensures verifi cation of sustainability standards. It might be information coded on the can, or it might be a number on the jar that you can plug in on a website to reveal the exact origins of that specifi c tuna.