Tuna Sustainability

The leading brands of canned and pouched tuna in the United States – Bumble Bee®, Chicken of the Sea® and StarKist® – are active leaders in global tuna sustainability efforts for all species of tuna.

Canned and pouched shelf stable tuna is sourced predominantly from two species of tuna: skipjack and albacore, otherwise referred to as chunk light and white tuna on store shelves. Fish stocks for these two tuna species are healthy and well managed thanks in part to the active participation of the leading U.S. tuna brands, Bumble Bee®, Chicken of the Sea® and StarKist®, in careful, science-based management of these fisheries. To learn more about the status of tuna stocks that go into making canned and pouched tuna, click here. For a comprehensive report on global tuna stocks, click here.

The leading U.S. tuna brands work in partnership with governments worldwide, the scientific community and leading global conservation organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to ensure the long term health of all tuna stocks, particularly those used in canned tuna, while protecting our oceans and minimizing the impact of fishing on other marine animals.

Some of the sustainability principles and actions U.S. tuna companies are committed to include:

  • Sourcing only legally caught and reported tuna
    New global industry standards adopted in 2009 allow U.S. tuna companies to trace the sources of all their tuna from catch to can
  • Reducing by-catch through new fishing technologies and scientific research
    Bumble Bee®, Chicken of the Sea® and StarKist® have committed $100,000 per year to protect sea turtles in the long-line tuna fishery
  • Continued commitment to dolphin safe fishing
    Adopted in 1990, and despite pressure from other nations to relax their dolphin safe fishing policies, America’s leading tuna companies remain unwavering in their commitment not to catch or harm dolphins in the process of catching tuna
  • Supporting regional and international science-based management of all tunas as well as strengthening conservation and management of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic and Mediterranean (bluefin tuna is not used in canned & pouched tuna)

International Seafood Sustainability Foundation

Eminent marine scientists, tuna industry leaders and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global conservation organization, have joined forces to establish the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), a global partnership committed to the science-based conservation and management of tuna and the protection of our oceans.

To access an in-depth assessment of the state of tuna stocks and learn more about current global conservation efforts, click here.

Status of the Stocks

Skipjack tuna is the species most commonly found in canned and pouched tuna products. It is better know as light tuna.

  • Catches of skipjack represent approximately 60% of global commercial tuna (2009)
  • Skipjack stocks are strong globally and are not being over-fished.
  • Most Skipjack are caught in the Eastern and Western Pacific Ocean.
  • Skipjack accounts for the largest share of tuna caught and eaten by people around the world.

Albacore is most often reffered to as white tuna and is the only tuna that can be sold with that label in the United States.

  • Catches of albacore represent approximately 5% of global commercial tuna (2009).
  • Most albacore are caught in the Northern and Southern Pacific Ocean.
  • Most albacore stocks can continue to support fishing at current rates with the help of science-based management and conservation measures.
  • Albacore in the north Atlantic require additional conservation measures to protect the stocks long-term sustainability. U.S. tuna companies support and comply fully with all conservation measures.
  • Today only about 10% of the global supply of albacore tuna is sourced from the north Atlantic fishery (2007).
Source: International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, May 2011