Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Tuna (Canned)

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Tuna (Canned) Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Chunk & Solid Light, Bigeye, Tongol, Yellowfin Worldwide Wild Except Troll, Pole
Tuna, Albacore ("White" Canned) 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. White Worldwide, Except U.S. Pacific and Canadian Pacific Troll, Pole
Tuna, Albacore ("White" Canned) Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. White U.S. Pacific, Canadian Pacific Troll, Pole
Tuna, Skipjack ("Light" Canned) Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Light Worldwide Troll, Pole
Tuna, Skipjack ("Light" Canned) Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Light Worldwide Purse Seine FAD-Free


Canned Tuna, Wild, Worldwide

Several species of tuna are available in cans or pouches. Many types of gear are used to catch tuna and not all tuna fisheries use ocean-friendly methods. Look for canned tuna that is labeled "Troll, Pole", or "FAD-free", another low bycatch method, as the most sustainable options.

Consumer Note

Canned tuna is typically labeled as "white" or "light." White tuna is always albacore. Light may refer to a number of species: bigeye, yellowfin, skipjack or tongol.

Summary

Tuna are fast-growing fish that reproduce at an early age and produce plentiful offspring - traits that can help them withstand heavy fishing. However, as one of the top three seafoods in the U.S., tuna is in very high demand and many populations are in decline.

Tuna fisheries use varying types of gear and the amount of bycatch varies widely among different gear types. Troll and pole gear catches little or no bycatch, while longlines and purse seines can catch large amounts, including threatened or endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.

Seafood Watch has three recommendations for troll- or pole-caught canned tuna. This includes two for albacore (white) tuna and one for skipjack (light) tuna. The important thing is to "Avoid" all canned tuna not labeled as "Troll, Pole" or "FAD-free".

Here's how to evaluate canned tuna in stores:

Albacore from the U.S. and the Canadian Pacific: "Best Choice" when troll- or pole-caught. These populations are healthy and well managed.

Albacore from other countries: "Good Alternative" when troll- or pole-caught.

Skipjack (light) tuna: "Best Choice" when troll- or pole-caught, since it comes from healthy populations that are well managed. Because canned light tuna can contain a number of tuna species, be sure to look for canned skipjack.


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