According to a recent report published in Ethical Consumer magazine consumers should avoid eating most species of tuna.
Of the five commercially farmed species – albacore, bigeye, bluefin, skipjack and yellowfin – it is the bluefin that is critically endangered, being specifically valued for eating raw as sushi and sashimi in specialist restaurants, particularly in Japan, which recently opposed, along with Canada, a ban on taking them. According to the EUC bluefin tuna stocks have fallen by 85% since the 1950’s. A fully grown fish can fetch up to £60,000 at market, or is worth more than £250,000 on the plate.
Stocks of yellowfin tuna are in serious decline, and the bigeye tuna is vulnerable. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) advises that skipjack tuna – which constitutes the vast majority of tinned tuna – from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans is sustainably fished, as is albacore from the south Atlantic and south Pacific and yellowfin from the Pacific and Atlantic. Consumers are also advised to choose line -caught fish rather than netted. (www.mcsuk.org)
In terms of tinned brands Ethical Consumer advises in favour of Fish4Ever, available at ASDA, and Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Coop and Marks and Spencer brands, and against buying the ASDA, Tesco, John West and Princes brands. It also notes that the sustainably fished brands are cheaper or comparable in price to the unsustainably fished ones. www.ethicalconsumer.org