Tuna at the Forefront of Sustainability Efforts

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As the world’s largest traded food commodity (WWF, 2014), seafood is an important source of protein and healthy fats, among other nutrients, acclaimed and consumed by cultures around the globe. The health of our oceans and fresh water resources are deeply correlated to the methods used to capture and cultivate seafood. Being one of the world’s few remaining large-scale hunts, tuna sustainability efforts are an integral part of maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem around the globe. Sustainability efforts have been at the forefront of the seafood industry, and more specifically, the tuna industry. Companies are beginning to take the necessary efforts and precautions to preserve the future viability of the seafood industry.


According to the United Nations, sustainability calls for a decent standard of living for everyone without compromising the needs of future generations (United Nations, 2014). In terms of seafood, specifically tuna sustainability, it is about harvesting from stocks that are managed in a manner that ensure they can continue to supply seafood for future generations (Clover Leaf, 2014).

What Is Being Done to Help?

Worldwide international organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund and International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, have stepped in and together have made it their mission to undertake the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reduce bycatch and promote ecosystem health through various science-based initiatives (ISSF, 2014), by working with scientists, industry leaders, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and non-governmental organizations. The WFF also works with consumers, restaurants and retailers to ensure that the seafood that is on our plates comes from sustainable sources (WWF, 2014). It is important to note that the process does not end once the fish is removed from the ocean; sustainability, rather, is a cumulative process that occurs from ocean to plate.
A healthy aquatic ecosystem requires more than simply protecting commercially valuable fish stocks. It is important to consider the effects on habitats (corals, sponges, etc.) and the entire web of life in each ecosystem (WWF, 2014). Some of the greatest obstacles to sustainability are fishing practices that destroy habitats or lead to the unintended capture of unwanted species (also known as bycatch). Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing practices also pose a threat to sustainable fishing, as these practices reduce transparency and traceability. The ISSF and WWF work with fisheries to help them through the implementation of improvement projects and management programs designed to mitigate bycatch, eliminate overfishing, and drive sustainability efforts.
As a founding member of ISSF, Clover Leaf Seafoods’ mission is to improve Canadian quality of life by providing sustainable, nutritious, convenient and affordable seafood products. Consumers who want to support sustainability efforts should look to see which companies are conducting their business responsibly and in accordance to the guidelines set out by organizations such as the UN and ISSF. Tuna sustainability is important so that future generations are able to enjoy the great taste and nutritional benefits of tuna and other seafood products, which have become an important source of protein for health conscious consumers around the globe. 

Works Cited

ISSF. (2014). OUR STORY. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from International Seafood Sustainability Foundation: http://www.iss-foundation.org/our-story/

Clover Leaf. (2014). SUSTAINABILITY, Retrieved on November 5, 2014, from Clover Leaf: http://www.cloverleaf.ca/en/sustainability

United Nations. (2014). WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY, Retrieved on November 5, 2014, from UN: http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/sustainability.shtml

WWF. (2014).SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from World Wildlife Fund: http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/oceans/sustainable_seafood/

Global Footprint. (2014). WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from Global Footprint http://www.globalfootprints.org/sustainability

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