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Tuna Secrets

Canned tuna is an affordable source of protein that many families depend on, but the conventional tuna industry’s destructive fishing practices are sending too many marine species to the brink of extinction. Tuna has been a popular seafood items in America for generations, but companies like Bumble Bee continue to rely on fishing practices that kill millions of marine animals every year, including sharks, turtles, rays and juvenile fish of all kinds. These practices threaten the very ecosystems that will keep our oceans healthy for generations to come.

Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumblebee

Canned tuna is an affordable source of protein that many families depend on. But if companies like Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumblebee don't change the way they're fishing for tuna, we will lose the ocean ecosystems they depend on, and scarcity will cause the price to skyrocket.

Destructive Fishing Practices

Countless sharks, sea turtles, rays, and and juvenile bigeye tuna (a species listed as at high risk for extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) are killed by the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets in the production of "chunk light" tuna.

Thousands of turtles, sea birds, sharks, and other animals are slaughtered on indiscriminate conventional longlines in the company's hunt for albacore – or "solid white" – tuna. These sea creatures make up 30 percent of the catch - and are tossed back dead into the water.

Pirate Fishing

About 20 percent of all fish sold worldwide is pirated (worth roughly $10-23 billion per year). This stolen fish is often transshipped to another boat at sea; a common tactic for laundering illegal fish and hiding the chain of custody. Illegal fishing harms the revenue streams for small island nations, wrecks ecosystems, and thwarts regional governments’ abilities to effectively manage fisheries.

Human Impacts

The industry has also seen a shameful amount of human trafficking, where people are forced to work as slaves on fishing vessels, are beaten, and even killed. In September, four Vietnamese sailors escaped from a Taiwanese tuna longliner and reported that they had been regularly beaten and treated like slaves for seven months. Even the tuna canning industry is implicated. Earlier this year, a Finnish human rights organization found that Unicord and Thai Union (parent company of Chicken of the Sea) were involved in human trafficking, child labor, and other crimes violating migrant workers' rights. This included confiscation of work permits, refusal to treat workplace injuries, and harassment and discrimination from managers, including violence.

Access to Food

The tuna industry regularly plunders the waters of small island nations, leaving locals with little left for food. Some companies bully small nations into allowing access to their valuable fishing grounds for a paltry sum. For a refreshing example of a small country that put the needs of its people first, watch this video.

Our Responsibility

The United States is the world's largest market for canned tuna, and we consume more than six million tons of it a year. As such, it is our responsibility to expose the behavior taking place in the shadows of the tuna industry.

There is a Better Way

There is a better way. Here in the U.S., due to consumer pressure, supermarkets like Safeway and Walmart sell their own brand of sustainable FAD-free tuna. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's outright refuse to sell destructive products from Chicken of the Sea, Starkist, and Bumblebee.

Take Action

You can help!

Tell Chicken of the Sea, Bumblebee and Starkist to STOP RIPPING UP THE SEA !