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Giles Rogers
Giles Rogers


Tuna are remarkable and impressive wild animals. The Atlantic bluefin can reach ten feet in length and weigh as much as 2000 pounds (more than a horse). Their specialized body shape, fins and scales enable some species of tuna to swim as fast as 43 miles per hour.



Tuna swim incredible distances as they migrate. Some tuna are born in the Gulf of Mexico, and travel across the entire Atlantic Ocean to feed off coast of Europe, and then swim all the way back to the Gulf to breed.

These extraordinary marine animals are also integral to the diet of millions of people and are one of the most commercially valuable fish. The majority of the market is made up of four species: skipjack alone account for more than half of the global catch of tuna, followed by yellowfin, bigeye, and albacore. The critically endangered bluefin tuna only makes up 1% of the global catch. As the methods of catching tuna have advanced over the years, the conservation and management of tuna has not evolved as quickly. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, most tuna stocks are fully exploited (meaning there is no room for fishery expansion) and some are already overexploited (there is a risk of stock collapse). According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, 65% of tuna stocks are at a healthy level of abundance, but 13% are considered overfished.

Tuna underpin the ecosystems and economies where they live. They are an apex predator and consume a wide variety of other fish, from squid to herring to sardines. This keeps the populations of other species healthy and balanced. Tuna are also among the most commercially valuable fish on the planet and support artisanal and industrial fishing alike. They are a plentiful and affordable source of protein for people around the world. Driven by this demand and high prices in sushi markets, fishers use even more refined techniques to catch tuna. And some species are disappearing as a result.

Since juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tuna school with adult skipjack, they are increasingly caught as bycatch, or unintended capture, by vessels that target skipjack. The removal of these juvenile yellowfin tuna before they have a chance to spawn could lead to fewer yellowfin in the long term. Although most yellowfin and bigeye tuna stocks are abundant throughout their range, they can be in danger of overfishing if management does not adequately take this bycatch into account.

According to information collected by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), several tuna stocks are currently overfished, meaning that adult fish are being caught faster than they can breed and replenish the population. Pacific bluefin tuna are heavily overfished, and the Atlantic bigeye and the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna are experiencing overfishing with increased catch levels in recent years. The skipjack tuna, while quite resilient, could easily slip into a vulnerable state due to overfishing if improperly managed.

Working with the biggest buyers, traders, and sellers of tuna leverages the purchasing power of the private sector to catalyze improvements in fishing practices, management, and conservation. It also provides financial support and incentive for fishers looking to commit to long-term sustainability. WWF works with tuna processors, traders and scientists through the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), a partnership that WWF helped to launch in 2009. ISSF advances the use of science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stock, reduction of bycatch and promotion of biodiversity and ecosystem health. ISSF provides a broad platform for industry leaders, scientists, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to work together. This work is further coordinated through the NGO Tuna Forum in which WWF actively participates.

The retail sector also provides important market leverage and WWF works with dozens of companies that sell tuna to ensure procurement practices help to promote the advancement of sustainable tuna fishing.

WWF works in tropical regions of the world where tuna is a cornerstone of the marine ecosystem and economic activity. We collaborate across sectors to develop and implement FIPs, focusing on key pressure points in order to reach sustainability in greater volumes. Working with regional fleets of the largest vessels that catch the most tuna focuses improvements for the most consolidated impact, and sets the example for other fleets, vessels, and gear types to follow.

The tuna industry continues to explore business cases for improving practices in tuna fishing, management, and trade. WWF supports industry efforts to build sustainable seafood and fisheries into their business practices through our expert knowledge and ability to bring together stakeholders. We are leading the effort to develop case studies and toolkits necessary for stakeholders to implement these sustainable improvements. Whether it is convening a think tank of experts to identify innovative approaches to incentivizing change in conservation and management, or pilot testing technology in countries with limited technical capacity, WWF is building the business case for the march toward sustainability in tuna fisheries.

The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna fish may help to reduce the level of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can accumulate inside the arteries of the heart. Studies have shown that eating more omega-3 is associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks.

The omega-3s in tuna also seem to have a positive effect on eye health. In a study of 40,000 female health professionals, women who ate multiple servings of tuna per week had as much as a 68% lower risk of developing dry eye. Omega-3s are also thought to contribute to the overall health of the retina.

Tuna is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Just 3 ounces of canned tuna yield as much as 50% of the recommended daily level. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health, strengthening the immune system against disease, and ensuring optimal growth in children.

Because of its potentially higher mercury content, pregnant women and young children should consult with a doctor before eating tuna. Canned tuna contains less mercury than fresh tuna because of the smaller sized fish used for canning.

You can find tuna fresh or canned at grocery stores across the country. Since canned tuna contains less mercury than fresh tuna, it may be a better option for some. Canned tuna is always cooked beforehand and can be eaten directly upon opening.

Tuna steaks purchased at the grocery store can be baked, grilled, or sautéed in a skillet. Apply the seasoning or marinade of your choice prior to cooking. You can buy frozen tuna steaks year round or wait for tuna to be in season.

The IATTC is the international commission responsible for the the long-term conservation and sustainable management of tuna and tuna-like species and other species of fish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Read more

All Wild Planet tuna is 100% sustainably pole & line, troll, or handline caught - nets are never used. Our methods catch only smaller migratory fish, that are naturally lower in mercury. Each fish is carefully hand-cut then hand-packed and cooked just once in the can ensuring a firm texture, clean taste, and high nutrient content.

The former President and Chief Executive Officer of Bumble Bee Foods LLC was convicted today in San Francisco, California, for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna, the Justice Department announced.

Following a four-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, a jury convicted Christopher Lischewski, the former CEO of Bumble Bee, for conspiring to fix prices of canned tuna sold in the United States from in or about November 2010 until in or about December 2013.

In federal waters: Anglers targeting billfish, swordfish, shark, bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, albacore tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna are required to have a federal HMS Angling Permit. The permit is issued to the fishing vessel, so it will cover all anglers onboard. Anglers can apply for a permit online at or by calling 888-872-8862.

In state waters: Anglers targeting bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, albacore tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna are required to have a federal HMS Angling Permit. The HMS angling permit is not required when fishing for billfish, swordfish or sharks in state waters.

Any HMS fish caught in state and federal waters (excluding sharks and non-bluefin tunas) that are landed (killed and brought to shore) must be reported to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours. Call 800-894-5528 to report landings of swordfish and billfish, and 888-872-8862 to report bluefin tuna landings or report both online at .

Canned tuna has been a great ally in our pantries during the pandemic. But, regardless of the market exceptionalities caused by the pandemic, we cannot ignore that, for a long time, this product has been a victim of its nutritional success. Tuna is rich in Omega-3 and it also contains minerals, proteins, and vitamin B12, among other advantages.

As a result of the amazing qualities of tuna, the fish are threatened by overwhelming demand. According to the latest data, among the seven principal tuna species, 33.3 percent of the stocks are estimated to be fished at biologically unsustainable levels

The move underlines the importance of conservation management to ensure that we have systems in place to prevent tuna stocks from crashing. Many countries depend heavily on tuna resources for food security and nutrition, economic development, employment, government revenue, livelihoods, culture, and recreation.

More than 7 million metric tons of tuna and tuna-like species are harvested yearly. These migratory tuna species account for 20 percent of the value of all marine capture fisheries and over 8 percent of all globally traded seafood. With that information in mind, we need to recognize the critical role of tuna in sustainable development, food security, economic opportunity, and the livelihoods of people around the world. Stopping overfishing is of vital importance. Yet, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations notes that market demand for tuna is still high and that the significant overcapacity of tuna fishing fleets remains. 041b061a72


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