Learn which brands should be avoided and which are making a sincere effort to provide ocean-safe options, then vote with your wallet.
Greenpeace has released its first-ever Canned Tuna Shopping Guide, assessing 14 well-known brands sold in the United States. Its conclusion is alarming: the majority of tuna sold and consumed in the U.S. fails to meet fundamental sustainability standards.
Greenpeace looked at sourcing and fishing practices – whether a brand can trace its product all the way back to the sea (which a surprising number of them cannot), and how the tuna are caught (if it harms other marine animals and creates bycatch and if companies avoid shark finning).Six brands received passing scores – Wild Planet, American Tuna, Ocean Naturals, Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, and Trader Joe’s. The first three brands show a real commitment to sustainable fishing practices, while the latter three are good, but still need to improve supply chain transparency, do more to avoid destructive fisheries, and cement social responsibility policies.
Eight brands failed the assessment. In order of least offensive to worst, these are Safeway, Costco, Target, Walmart, Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee, Kroger, and StarKist. These brands should be avoided always, as they use questionable fishing practices that needlessly kill sharks, turtles, and rays, and have no commitment to avoiding human rights abuses among employees, which in the worst cases can include slavery. Some even source their tuna from unhealthy stocks.
Greenpeace Seafood Markets Lead Graham Forbes urges U.S. consumers, who make up the world’s biggest market for canned tuna, to pay attention to where fish comes from: “Consumers should know that popular and trusted canned tuna brands are contributing to ocean destruction at an alarming rate.”
Look at what’s printed (and not printed) on labels. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification is a good logo to look for, guaranteeing traceability and third party auditing. Unfortunately “dolphin safe” does not mean that other marine animals haven’t been harmed in the process, so it’s not enough to go by.
You can find the full Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide here.