Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Tuna, Skipjack

© Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission/George Mattson
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Tuna, Skipjack Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Aku, Bonito, Katsuo Imported Longline
Tuna, Skipjack Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Aku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, Katsuo Worldwide Purse Seine
Tuna, Skipjack Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Aku, Bonito, Katsuo U.S. Atlantic, Hawaii Longline
Tuna, Skipjack Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Aku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, Katsuo Worldwide Troll, Pole
Tuna, Skipjack Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Aku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, Katsuo Marine Stewardship Council Certified Wild
Tuna, Skipjack Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Aku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, Katsuo Worldwide Purse-seine FAD-free


Skipjack Tuna, Wild, Worldwide

Skipjack tuna caught with troll or pole gear receive a "Best Choice" recommendation because there is little or no bycatch associated with this collection method.

Consumer Note

Skipjack is most often sold as canned light tuna and is the most common species found in tuna cans. It's also sold fresh or frozen. Some segments of the sashimi market prefer skipjack and use it interchangeably with yellowfin tuna in grilled or fried preparations. It's known as katsuo or bonito when prepared for sushi.

Summary

Skipjack tuna is found throughout many of the world's oceans. It matures at an early age making it more resilient to high levels of fishing than most other tuna species.

Skipjack is caught using a variety of methods including troll, pole, purse seine and longline gear.

The bycatch associated with purse seining can be considerable, especially when these nets are set around natural floating objects or when "fish aggregating devices" (FADs) are used. Bycatch can include young tunas such as bigeye and yellowfin, and other fishes and sharks. There is considerably less bycatch when FADs aren't used - a method known as "FAD-free" or "unassociated purse seining." Unfortunately, except for specially marked tuna cans, most cans of skipjack may include the less environmentally friendly caught tuna. This results in an "Avoid" recommendation as a precautionary approach for purse seine-caught skipjack, unless labeled as "FAD-free".

Longlines, one method used to catch tuna, result in large quantities of bycatch including threatened or endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. Since there are no international laws to reduce bycatch, these longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these species.

There is little or no bycatch when skipjack is caught with troll or pole gear. Look for skipjack caught by troll or pole, or canned tuna labeled "FAD-free" both of which have very low bycatch and are a "Best Choice."



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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat