Not all canned tuna is created equal, and these days pulling back the lid can be a bit like opening a can of worms. Some may contain unpleasant secrets - illegal catches, destructive fishing techniques and even forced labour. If these products are tied to the world’s biggest tuna producer, Thai Union Group, the likelihood is pretty high that you’re getting more than you paid for.
To help you work out which tuna and products are better choices, and to create pressure on major tuna brands around the world to ensure only ocean-friendly tuna is available for consumers and our oceans, we have produced tuna ranking guides in various countries around the world. The guides take well-known national and retailer private label tuna brands and check them against criteria under four basic categories: sustainability, social responsibility (human welfare and labour issues), traceability and labelling (how easy it is to tell what’s actually in the can), and protecting our oceans beyond their tuna supply chains.
Brands are scored and put into one of three categories – Red (fail, avoid), Yellow (taking some steps, choose with caution), and Green (on the right track, better option). Companies in the Green category have a strong sustainability and social responsibility policy in place, source from healthier tuna stocks and current best-practice fishing methods that reduce their ecological impact, and work beyond their supply chains to improve the tuna industry and the health of our oceans, industry workers and coastal communities.
Unfortunately, many brands fail completely. In the US for example, over 80 percent of canned tuna was found to have come from unsustainable, destructive sources. In many other markets, the picture is the same. Especially in the first year a ranking is released in a country, consumers tend to see lots of red and shades of yellow.
Among the failing brands are those owned by Thai Union Group; trusted brands like Chicken of the Sea, Petit Navire, Sealect, John West, Century Tuna and Mareblu. Many other supermarket and national brands ranked red around the world are also supplied by the company. Without strong sustainability and social responsibility policies ensuring their products are free from the horrendous practices, shady tuna could be lurking behind all sorts of pretty labels.
But other industry players are well ahead of the pack. Our rankings have shown that from year to year, new more sustainable products and even some new brands, are hitting store shelves, slowly but surely providing greener glimmers in a sea of red-rated tuna.
In Canada and Australia, in addition to rankings, we have released Sustainable Canned Tuna applications. The Canadian version goes beyond the ranked brands and does a general rating of over 100 products found on shelves in the Canadian market.
Greenpeace will keep pushing tuna brands to do better for our oceans change their tuna for the better, but we need your help. Armed with information and a clearer choice, you have the power to change the tuna industry for the better, and help reduce the pressure on one of the world’s favourite fish.
Check out the tuna ranking guide or mobile app in your part of the world below and see how your brand of choice measures up. Choosing green rated brands and products is your best bet, after of course eating less tuna and leaving more tuna in our oceans!