Alleviating Concerns About Endangered Fish in Canned Tuna

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Are There Endangered Fish in Canned Tuna?

Is there a reason to be concerned about endangered fish in canned tuna? Most of the concern over the possibility of endangered fish in canned tuna stems from the bycatch of untargeted species of tuna associated with some commercial fishing methods.

Are There Endangered Marine Life in Canned Tuna?

Absolutely not! Again, this question stems from the bycatch of other marine life, such as turtles and sharks, associated with some commercial fishing methods.
Read on to learn more.

Reducing Bycatch Levels

It is important to understand that bycatch is associated with every fishing method. Bycatch is the untargeted catch of marine animals (Tuna Sustainability, 2010a). Assessing fishing methods and implementing the agreed-upon best practices, which effectively reduce the levels of bycatch, are necessary to improve the overall sustainability of the tuna fishing industry moving forward.
Purse seine fishing is important to the tuna fishing industry; purse seine fishing vessels account for approximately 62% of the tuna caught around the world each year (ISSF, 2014). Purse seine fishing vessels commonly employ the use of Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs (Tuna Sustainability, 2010b) to improve efficiency. Clover Leaf sources fish caught on FADs due to the extreme efficiency of this method (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014a). Fishing on FADs has been incorrectly labeled by some as destructive due to bycatch. But studies have shown that levels of non-tuna bycatch (non-targeted marine life that is caught incidentally) from FAD fishing are comparable or less than that of other industrial fishing methods (Laurent Dagorn, 2012). As a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Clover Leaf continues to implement the best practices identified by the ISSF to further reduce bycatch levels using purse seine fishing on FADs. The Bycatch Research Initiative, a $15 million commitment, involves gaining learnings at sea from research and technology development cruises, and then incorporating this education on best practices through skipper workshops. One such outcome was developing non-entangling, biodegradable FAD designs proven to reduce bycatch (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014b). The ISSF is a global organization composed of leading scientists, members of the tuna industry, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – the world’s leading conservation organization – who are all focused on promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term health of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch, and promoting ecosystem health.

Are Endangered Tuna Species Used in Canned Tuna?

The species of tuna used in Canada for canning include skipjack, albacore and yellowfin. These species of fish are largely abundant and Clover Leaf always sources these species from healthy tuna stocks or stocks with conservation management plans in place (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014b).
Skipjack tuna is the most abundant species of tuna. Both skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna are referred to as light tuna, and are used to produce canned light tuna. Albacore tuna is used to produce canned white tuna. The depletion of bluefin tuna stocks has received much media attention, but this species of tuna is not used in canning (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014c).
Clover Leaf sells canned tuna only from fisheries that are deemed sustainable by the ISSF, but the company will also work with fisheries that lack data and/or robust management by helping them develop improvement plans. These measures ensure that poorly managed fisheries are incentivized to adopt sustainability practices instead of simply abandoning them.
Continued efforts promoting the sustainable use of tuna stocks and significantly reducing bycatch levels from purse seine fishing, will alleviate concerns about endangering marine species in order to produce canned tuna. 

Works Cited

ISSF. (2014). Purse Seine. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from International Seafood Sustainability Foundation:

Laurent Dagorn, K. H. (2012, October 3). Fishing with FADs – Good or Bad? Retrieved October 10, 2014, from ISSF:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014a). FAQ - Greenpeace says fishing on FADs is destructive. Why does Clover Leaf fish on FADs? Retrieved October 10, 2014, from Clover Leaf Sustainability:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014b). Tuna Sustainability. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014c). FAQ - Are tuna fisheries in danger of collapse? Retrieved October 28, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

Tuna Sustainability. (2010a, December 23). Glossary: Bycatch. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from YouTube:

Tuna Sustainability. (2010b, December 23). Glossary: FAD. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from YouTube:

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