The Ethical Consumer Update Guide warns that no Australian tuna brand uses sustainable tuna. Even the top brands use destructive fishing methods, but some brands are making positive changes.
The biggest selling seafood item in Australia is canned tuna but tuna stocks are in a critical condition. As Greenpeace says it would be gratifying to see the supermarkets, who play a key role by selling us overfished tuna, take some responsibility here.
Overfished species such as Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna end up on Australian supermarket shelves.
Supermarkets should switch to sustainably caught Skipjack Tuna.
Destructive fishing methods used for canned tuna also kills sharks, turtles and juvenile tuna.
Supermarkets must only sell tuna caught sustainably, such as by pole or line methods.
The following guide shows the supermarkets selling overfished species or using destructive fishing techniques. They are listed from 1 – 10, one being the most sustainable and 10 the least sustainable.
Greenseas uses sustainable Skipjack Tuna and is improving its labelling. As leaders on sustainability we hope it will provide consumers with a sustainable pole and line caught tuna range to avoid unnecessary bycatch.
Coles use Skipjack Tuna and are good on traceability and labelling. The next step Coles can take is to introduce a sustainable seafood policy that rules out the use of FADs to catch tuna.
Aldi has shown leadership by introducing a troll caught tuna and providing consumer information. However, it must end its trade in overfished Yellowfin and Albacore Tuna to move up the ranking.
Woolworths sells overfished Yellowfin Tuna and has inconsistent labelling. Woolworths’ credibility on sustainability and equitability depends on working with suppliers to improve its tuna ranking.
It is an embarrassing report card for Safcol. Safcol does not label its cans or provide useful information on the true chain of custody of its products.
Paramount has a long way to go. It must provide information on its chain of custody and remove overfished Yellowfin Tuna from its product range.
7. John West
John West does not let consumers know what is in the can. If it is truly committed to sustainability, it will provide a bycatch free product by looking to selective fishing methods like pole and line for its range.
8. Sole Mare
Sole Mare trade in the overfished species Yellowfin Tuna. It needs to end its trade in this species and provide consumers with truly sustainable tuna.
9. IGA, Franklins and SPAR
It is shameful that these three supermarkets cannot provide the most basic consumer information about the tuna in their products. They need to clean up their act and be honest about their tuna trade.
Sirena is an irresponsible company that does not even let consumers know which tuna is in its cans. Sirena must be transparent and frank about its tuna and the fishing methods it uses.
CRITERIA FOR CANNED TUNA RATING:
• If the tuna comes from overfished stocks;
• If the tuna comes from illegal vessels or companies;
• If the tuna can is labelled correctly; and
• If the tuna was fished using methods that result in high levels of bycatch.
BRANDS WERE ALSO RANKED ON THEIR:
• Commitment to not source tuna from proposed marine reserves.
• Commitment to equitable sourcing policy for tuna.
The rankings are based on an international canned tuna ranking system. Australian tuna brands have some of the worst practices worldwide, with no brand ranking above 30%.
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