These Tuna Brands Get Top Marks For Dolphin Safety

Tinned fish is hot right now. As a darling of the pandemic, the canned seafood market "is expected to surpass US$ 82.1 [billion] by the end of 2032" according to a report from Future Market Insights, and a recent roundup in Eater features 13 New York City restaurants whose menus feature it front and center. But just like any mass-produced animal product, there are multiple ways to get tinned fish from the sea to the grocery store — but one method in particular takes a lesser toll on the environment.

To use an unavoidable pun, the tinned fish fad comes at the cost of a more dangerous FAD: Fish Aggregating Devices. The Guardian explains that these "man-made floating objects" often "[contain] a solar device that attract large amounts of fish but can harm other species including sharks and sea turtles," as well as dolphins. 

According to Sierra, sustainable producers trade in FADs for "pole-and-line and trolling, which reduce the amount of unintentionally caught marine creatures, or bycatch." When it comes to the ever-popular pantry staple canned tuna, the magazine has some suggestions for brands that have learned from the mistakes of Big Tinned Fish. 

Bigger isn't always better

Sierra cites Greenpeace's Tuna Shopping Guide in response to a question from a climate-conscious consumer, writing, "Wild Planet, American Tuna, and Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value score best on the list [of sustainable canned tuna producers], with Wild Planet notching the top spot thanks to its sustainable fishing techniques." Sierra adds that Wild Planet "also gets high marks for committing to not fishing in proposed high-seas ocean sanctuaries."

As for tuna brands to avoid, Sierra recommends steering clear of StarKist (which "[sources] its tuna from destructive fisheries that are responsible for tons of bycatch"), Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea, possibly to Jessica Simpson's chagrin. However, now that Greenpeace has won an environmental lawsuit filed against Chicken of the Sea, Sierra claims that the company "has pledged to clean up its act." Until that happens, opt for Greenpeace-approved tinned fishies the next time you want to make some tuna salad