Ethical Ranking for Tuna

Tuna. It’s the type of fish most likely to be in the average pantry at any given moment. And it is perhaps the one fish that has most clearly been turned into something very like a true commodity. On your supermarket shelf, it amounts to row upon row of pretty much anonymous fish packed into standardized cans. Aside from variations like whether it’s packed in oil or vegetable broth, and whether the meat is “whole” or “chunk” or “flaked,” it’s basically all the same to most consumers. When I was a kid, we didn’t even know such differences existed. Tuna is tuna, right? Of course, that’s a perception that various companies that package tuna would like to eliminate. They want you to believe that StarKist really is different from Clover Leaf, and that their brand of tuna is best. The notion that “all tuna is the same” is also, as it happens, a perception the people at Greenpeace are trying to combat, but for very different reasons.

Here’s the story, by Monique Beaudin, in the Vancouver Sun: Greenpeace asks shoppers to fish around for ethical tuna

A new report by Greenpeace Canada might make you reconsider eating a tuna sandwich.

The environmental group says most canned tuna in Canada is fished from at-risk species using “destructive” fishing methods.

Greenpeace, which has been lobbying Canadian retailers to adopt sustainable seafood policies, looked at how and where canned tuna sold by 14 companies across the country is caught.

Only Wild Planet Foods and Raincoast Trading got a passing grade from Greenpeace because they clearly explain what kinds of tuna they use — albacore and skipjack — and where and how their fish were caught — in both cases, without longlines.

Clover Leaf, the company with the largest market share of canned tuna in Canada, failed because it didn’t answer any of the environmental group’s questions. King said she didn’t know why Clover Leaf didn’t respond, and the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday….

Here’s the direct link to Greenpeace Canada’s Tuna Sustainability Ranking.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
This entry was posted in activism, aquaculture, ecosystems, endangered species, ethics, fisheries, sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ethical Ranking for Tuna

  1. Our fisheries are in serious trouble, no doubt. Experts estimate that by the middle of this century, most commercial fisheries will be depleted to around 10-20% of their original levels. Definitely not sustainable. And it gets worse, too – as fisheries decline, the populations that rely on them for food sources turn elsewhere, endangering the populations of land animals, too. Aquaculture currently presents a whole host of other problems, but hopefully in the future scientists can find a way to grow fish for human consumption without destroying the seas we all rely on for life. Thanks for the info!

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