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Selecting sustainable canned tuna – RecipeTin Eats

It’s encouraging to see the elevated demand and consciousness for canned tuna that doesn’t include a excessive value to our surroundings and marine life, particularly given the large quantity of canned tuna that’s produced and consumed globally.

However I do know it may be complicated to know which canned tuna to decide on. So this publish is my information for a way to decide on sustainable canned tuna, together with some background info.

Canned tuna

Abstract: which canned tuna is greatest?

Select skipjack tuna that’s pole and line caught (ie no nets, greatest) or not less than FAD-free* fishing strategies (acceptable). Eat much less yellowfin (ahi ahi) and albacore tuna. Don’t purchase bluefin and bigeye tuna or any tuna caught utilizing FADs* with purse seine nets, gillnetting and longlining.

Learn the canned tuna label to find out the tuna species and fishing technique. The excellent news is a lot of the canned tuna at common Australian grocery shops is caught utilizing FAD-free strategies nowadays.

* FAD = Fish Aggregating Machine = as much as 7x unintended marine life casualties caught in nets = unacceptable!

How to decide on sustainable canned tuna

To find out if a can of tuna is sustainable or not, it’s essential to know:

  1. the tuna species – as a result of some are critically endangered; and

  2. the fishing technique – harmful fishing strategies harm the marine surroundings and as much as 7x unintended marine life are caught and killed.

Learn the label of the can to find out the sort of tuna and how the tuna was caught. There isn’t a regulated and standardised labelling system that reliably identifies sustainable canned tuna, so don’t depend on “responsibly sourced” stamps with out checking the small print!

There’s an abundance of alternative at grocery shops. Understand how to decide on sustainable canned tuna!

What to search for on the can

Right here’s a abstract of what to search for on canned tuna labels to decide on responsibly. See sections beneath for additional explanations.

1. Finest obtainable

Species: skipjack tuna – most accountable choice.

Fishing technique: Pole and line caught (no nets) – most accountable technique of fishing as a result of different marine life doesn’t get caught within the nets.

2. Acceptable

Fishing technique: FAD-free purse seine, a way which reduces danger of different marine life getting caught in nets.



  • Species: Bluefin and bigeye tuna – critically endangered.

  • Fishing strategies: FADs with purse seine nets, gillnetting and longlining. As much as 7x unintended targets can get caught and killed within the nets utilizing these strategies, in addition to damaging the marine eco system. It’s price noting that every one main Australian canned tuna manufacturers at the moment are FAD free.

⚠️ “Dolphin pleasant” stamp will not be at all times an indicator of true sustainable practices. Extra on the misuse of this label beneath.

BEST (pole and line caught skipjack tuna)

ACCEPTABLE (FAD-free purse seine skipjack tuna)

Be aware: A few of these manufacturers even have yellowfin tuna merchandise which falls underneath the eat much less of class, so be sure you examine the label!


* Sirena is yellowfin tuna although it’s pole and line caught so there’s a trade-off right here: threatened tuna species vs use of greatest fishing technique.

Why the fishing technique issues

As a result of unethical fishing practices has a heavy value on different marine life.

The worst fishing technique is tuna that’s caught utilizing Fish Aggregation Machine (FADs) with purse seine nets, gillnetting and longlining. FADs are a tool used to draw marine life (not simply tuna). When sufficient have aggregated across the system, they’re scooped up in big nets – all the things that’s there, not simply the tuna.

Fishing strategies utilizing FADs trigger as much as 7 occasions by-catch and killing of unintended goal, together with endangered species – fish, sharks, turtles.

⭐️ One of the best fishing technique is pole-and-line caught tuna the place every fish is caught individually utilizing a fishing rod so there may be little danger that different marine life is by accident caught.

✔️The FAD-free purse seine is the commonest tuna catching technique for canned tuna at present offered on the giant chain Australian grocery shops. That is thought of a extra accountable type of tuna fishing than utilizing FADs as a result of there may be much less danger of catching unintended targets in nets.

FAD free canned tuna
All store-brand canned tuna I discovered in my native space all use FAD free fishing strategies, which is nice to see (Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, Australia).

Why the tuna species issues

There are numerous kinds of tuna and so selecting a species of tuna that’s being fished at a fee that isn’t threatening the inhabitants issues.

Tuna sorts to keep away from

  • bluefin tuna – critically endangered

  • bigeye tuna – overfished, low inhabitants

These are premium kinds of tuna usually solely discovered at excessive finish sashimi and sushi eating places, not usually seen right here in Australia.

Eat much less

Yellowfin is the kind of tuna that’s usually served in uncooked type resembling sashimi, sushi, ceviche and crudos. It’s a favorite of high-quality eating institutions for the color, texture and flavour.

Much less-concerned

Close up of fork picking up a slice of tuna steak
Yellowfin tuna (Ahi tuna) is a sort of tuna generally used for tuna steaks and sushi, favoured for the gentle clear flavour and wonderful crimson color.

Balancing price range with sustainable decisions

I do know that price range comes into consideration right here when making sustainable meals decisions, as a result of the extra sustainable canned tuna is usually costlier.

Having stated that although, Safcol No Internet Tuna, which is a gold-star accountable product, is offered at Woolworths in Australia and is across the similar value as different main manufacturers. So I’m confused, why I discovered it tucked away on the underside shelf and why it isn’t obtainable at Coles and different grocery shops – additional investigation pending!

Gold star sustainable tuna – Safcol No Internet Tuna offered at Woolworths (Australia) for $2.90 for 185g/6oz

However with info comes the power to make knowledgeable choices so we are able to do the most effective we are able to to play our half to make a distinction.

In order that’s what I’m doing with this publish.

And the excellent news is that a lot of the canned tuna at common grocery shops right here in Australia is taken into account comparatively accountable nowadays. However ensure that to learn the label! And don’t instinctively attain for canned tuna with a “dolphin pleasant” stamp on it which could be deceptive. Right here’s why.

Good Fish responsibly sourced canned tuna
GoodFish tuna will get a gold star for sustainable tuna, however it comes with a price ticket.

Deceptive “dolphin pleasant” stamp

The “Dolphin pleasant” labelling that you just see on nearly all cans of tuna will not be a real indicator of sustainable practices right here in Australia. It is because using this stamp will not be regulated.

For instance, a lot of the canned tuna we devour in Australia comes from the Pacific in an space the place dolphins should not frequent. So catching tuna in a “dolphin pleasant” method will not be related!

The “dolphin pleasant” label is extra related to the US the place dolphins do reside with tuna and are victims of unethical tuna fishing practices.

Be aware: Not all manufacturers mis-use the dolphin protected label, like Safcol No Internet Tuna product line which is pictured beneath. However realizing that some do means it’s a label we are able to’t at all times depend on.

In closing: a be aware on private ideas

I might be remiss in not let you know that I eat and admire the qualities of the premium tuna species listed above as keep away from or eat much less of. I’ve even shared recipes utilizing them.

However they’re a particular deal with reasonably than an on a regular basis ingredient, consumed sparingly in uncooked type, and definitely not used wherever close to the size of mass produced canned tuna.

Right here in Australia, yellowfin tuna served in uncooked type (suppose – tartare, ceviche, sashimi) is frequent at high-quality eating eating places. Simply strive to decide on fish sourced utilizing sustainable practices – ask your server! Although nowadays, you’ll discover that sustainability is on the forefront of eating places run by properly revered cooks in our nation.

Why impulsively a publish on sustainable consuming?

And should you’re an everyday reader questioning why is Nagi impulsively doing a publish on sustainable consuming? The reply is that this: cooking, meals and sourcing of elements is an ongoing journey of schooling. I be taught one thing new each single day, and this consists of studying extra about sustainability of meals.

As a basic recipe web site, the deal with what I do is round offering recipes. However the place attainable, or the place a subject is of private significance to me, I’ll at occasions share what I’ve discovered and my private opinion on issues – whether or not or not it’s my favorite model of curry pastes, that I detest retailer purchased fish inventory, selecting between grass and grain fed beef or what I find out about selecting accountable canned tuna. 🙂

I hope you’ve discovered this publish helpful! – Nagi x

Data sources

My favorite canned tuna recipes

Lifetime of Dozer

Swing the digicam a fraction to the precise and that is what fills the lens:

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