Credit: Flickr / Martin H.F. Pedersen

With fish consumption on the rise, Canadians are eating more canned tuna produced through destructive and unsustainable practices


Greenpeace’s new report, “Lifting the lid on the major canned tuna brands in Canada: Ranking the sustainability and equitability of tuna sourcing,” is bad news if tinned tuna is a staple in your pantry.


The survey, which follows on the environmental NGO's eye-opening (and appetite suppressing) genetic testing of 50 international brands of tinned tuna, indicates that most of the tuna found on Canadian supermarket shelves is the result of destructive and unsustainable fishery practices.


The report ranked 14 brands of tuna based on whether they were sourced sustainably and caught tuna from healthy stocks, whether the companies were avoiding fisheries operating illegally or using practices that kill turtles, sharks and seabirds as well as underage tuna and endangered species, and if they were supporting equitable fishing agreements.


The survey only gave passing grades to two brands—Wild Planet Foods and Raincoast Trading—companies that Greenpeace says, “use more selective fishing gear, support coastal-state-owned operations, and provide clearer labeling for consumers.”


Some of the best known Canadian Brands, including Clover Leaf and Unico, failed miserably.


Canned Tuna
Greenpeace report indicates that most of the tuna found in Canadian supermarkets is produced from destructive and unsustainable fishery practices. (Image: Flickr / Jules: Stone-Soup)


Fish stocks becoming over-fished

Greenpeace’s survey comes on the heels of a UN Food and Agriculture Organization report that tells us global fish consumption is on the rise, “fish now supplies over three billion people with at least 15 percent of their average animal protein intake.” But the status global fish stocks—especially tuna, has not improved.


The report says about 32 percent of the world fish stocks are over-fished, or depleted and need to be rebuilt.


The good news is it found about 15 percent of fish stocks are under-utilized and can be safely fished at higher levels (check out Michael Robertson’s fantastic post on some local under utilized options.)


And if you are finding your head is spinning and you have no idea what you should and shouldn’t be eating when it comes to seafood—be sure to download the free Ocean Wise iPhone app. The app includes more than 3,000 Ocean Wise restaurants as well as a comprehensive list of ocean-friendly brands and fresh options.


Sustainable seafood resources


Granville Online's guide to sushi and seafood in Vancouver


Ocean Wise list of approved partners (restaurants, markets, vendors, etc.)


Sustainable seafood diet by Granville 'Sustenance' blogger, Michael Robertson

The tuna brand companies and supermarket chains received the following scores (in ranking order):

  1. Wild Planet (65.1%)
  2. Raincoast (50.0%)
  3. Ocean Fisheries Ltd. (45.7%)
  4. Metro (45.2%)
  5. Sobeys (42.1%)
  6. Loblaw (41.0%)
  7. Walmart (40.7%)
  8. Canadian Fishing Company (40.4%)
  9. Overwaitea Food Group (39.1%)
  10. Safeway (30.6%)
  11. Clover Leaf Seafoods Company (27.8%)
  12. Bolton Alimentari Italia S.p.A. (23.0%)
  13. Pastene, Inc. (4.1%)
  14. Unico, Inc. (1.7%)