Tuna - you've probably got a tin or two in your cupboard. Cheap, convenient and versatile. It is also very big business. The tinned tuna trade is worth around US$ 2.7 billion a year.
And in the UK, we love it: we are the second biggest customer for canned tuna in the world after the USA.
But tinned tuna has a hidden environmental cost. Fishing practices used by the global tuna industry are contributing to the sharp decline of populations of sea turtles, sharks, and other marine animals and the decline of tuna stocks themselves. You can find out more in our briefing, Tinned Tuna's Hidden Catch.
Fishermen have known for years that tuna congregate in large numbers under floating objects, so to maximise their catches many now use Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) - which can be sophisticated steel structures, anchored to the sea floor and fitted with electronic monitoring equipment that can transmit detailed information to fishing vessels by radio, including water temperature and quantity of fish in the vicinity. The animation below shows how this affects both the tuna and the species that live around them.
Tuna is in trouble. Some tuna species are critically endangered, many stocks are overfished and the global catch is in steady decline. Time and tuna are running out.
But if we act now, there are solutions.
And the solution starts with UK tinned tuna brands… they have the power to ensure that the fish they sell is caught using sustainable methods. But at the moment, most tinned tuna brands are environmentally unsustainable. So we've produced a handy league table to help you identify the best and the worst among the big brands of tinned tuna. Please use our league table as a guide to choosing the tinned tuna that you buy. Please also help us to press for change in the UK tinned tuna trade, by contacting the CEO of the company which finished at the bottom of our league table, John West.