Curious about Overfishing & Sustainable Seafood?
After today’s G+ Hangout we wanted to provide you links and information to learn more about Overfishing, Seafood & Sustainability. As Charles Clover said, We are a century behind.
Fish Online: The buyer’s guide to sustainable seafood
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
End of the Line: Info about the film
Seafood Watch: The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid.”
UK Marine Conservation Society: The Marine Conservation Society, MCS, is the voice for everyone who loves the sea. We work to secure a future for our living seas, and to save our threatened sea life before it is lost forever.
Marks & Spencer: Seafood Policy & School Program, Plan A
Wal Mart: Sustainable Seafood Policy; Working with seafood suppliers to ensure third-party certification
Whole Foods: Sustainable Seafood Policy; At Whole Foods Market we believe that sustainable seafood comes from responsibly managed fish farms and marine fisheries that maintain healthy fish populations and ecosystems. Our goal is to work with the passion of our customers, the commitment of our skilled seafood buyers, and the dedication of our seafood suppliers to help restore our marine and coastal ecosystems and build a more sustainable seafood market. Here’s how we’re doing it.
Pole & Line Caught Tuna, accounts for roughly 10% of the world’s tuna catch (ISSF)
6 reasons to choose pole and line via Greenpeace
Why does tuna fishing matter?
Tuna fishing is big business – it is the world’s most popular fish. The way it is caught has a huge impact on the health of our oceans. Currently, most tuna is caught using large-scale industrial fishing methods, which threaten fish stocks and the marine environments that support them.
Thankfully, there’s change afoot in the tuna world. A more sustainable fishing method – pole and line – is now well and truly on Australian shelves. Last year, Safcol became the first Aussie brand to go 100% pole and line giving us a more sustainable option – now every Australian supermarket has a pole and line option.
6 reasons to change your tuna to pole and line
1. Less sharks, turtles, whales and dolphins will be killed.
Most canned tuna is caught with FADs, which attract marine life, and huge nets called purse seines. This method scoops up and kills anything in its reach – from the target tuna fish, to other fish like sailfish and marine life like whales and sharks known as bycatch. Pole and line fishing is much more selective. Other creatures are rarely caught (it’s pretty hard to catch a whale with a fishing rod!) and if they are, they can usually be returned to the water unharmed.
2. The rate of fishing will be more sustainable.
Right now, fishing vessels are catching fish faster than nature can replenish them. The UN states that the global fishing fleet is 2.5 times greater than it needs to be to catch a sustainable amount of fish. The bulk of fish is also caught by a small number of fleets. Currently, 4% of the industrial fishing boats catch as many fish as the remaining 96%. Buying pole and line tuna instead keeps access to fish with coastal fishermen, without adding more giant fishing vessels and factory ships into the mix.
3. Tuna species under pressure will be given a break.
There are different species of tuna and the condition of each species varies. For instance, skipjack tuna is in the healthiest state, while bigeye and yellowfin tuna are in serious decline. Conventional purse seine fishing with FADs may target skipjack tuna, but the catch can also be up to 20% juvenile bigeye and yellowfin. Pole and line fishing, however, essentially eliminates juvenile bigeye catch and reduces juvenile yellowfin catch.
4. More local fishermen will be employed.
While most tuna is caught in or near Pacific Island waters, the biggest fishing vessels come from nations far away and use sophisticated technology with little crew. Pole and line fishing requires more fishermen to be involved as fish are caught one by one with a hook and line. They usually work coastally, so more locals are employed; and they spend just days or even hours at sea away from their families, not months. Pole and line fishing provides vital employment in island states, without the harmful impact on the sea.
5. Developing coastal nations will benefit.
The tuna industry globally is worth over $5 billion per year, but most of the profits don’t end up with the countries whose waters have the tuna. In the Pacific, which provides 60% of the world’s tuna, only about 6% of the value stays in the local economy. Most developing coastal states can’t afford the expensive industrial vessels – for the price of a high tech purse seine vessel, around twenty pole and line vessels can be bought. This means more opportunities for local ownership.
6. It won’t hurt your hip pocket!
Not long ago, if you wanted to buy a sustainable tuna product it was 3 or 4 times the price of a regular can of tuna. Thanks to consumer pressure, now many of the big brands offer a pole and line product that is affordable. The more people who swap destructively caught tuna for pole and line tuna, the more that price will continue to fall.
P.S. If you ask us, buying a tuna product that doesn’t destroy our oceans tastes better too!
Note: All fishing has an impact on the environment, and for pole and line it’s important that the bait it uses is managed sustainably. But conventional tuna fishing with FADs is so destructive that for Australian consumers, the choice is easy.