A New Way of Catching Tuna

Whole Foods is changing the way fishermen catch tuna in an effort to save other marine life. The national grocery chain is establishing new guidelines and policies for capturing tuna. The new guidelines require fish suppliers to catch tuna in ways that minimize the risk of killing non-edible sea animals. This will keep other types of fish from being netted in the process of catching fresh tuna.

Suppliers should only target fish that can reproduce fast enough to keep the populations from being wiped out and the species from becoming extinct. Whole Foods is establishing these sustainable requirements to keep dolphins, sea turtles, and other non-tuna species safe. The company views this as developing sustainability in the fish industry. Saving the dolphins is not only good for sea life but for human life, too. Dolphins play pivotal roles in keeping both safe and healthy.

Dolphins should be saved not only because they are significantly intelligent marine species, but they play a role in ecology and protecting humans. Scientists can study sick or dead dolphins and learn if there is something wrong in their environment that poses a threat to other animals and humans.

When dolphins suffer from diseases such as cancer, reproductive problems, or immune system deficiencies, this can be an indicator of water pollution from industrial, residential, or agricultural runoff. The study of dolphins can help us better understand the effects of marine food on humans because dolphins eat some of the same sea foods as we do.

Dolphins often prey on old or sick fish. When they do this, they are freeing the waters of sick fish, which reduces infectious disease among marine life. By keeping fish species healthy, it helps keep the fish on our dinner tables fresher and healthier too. Dolphins play a valuable role in helping scientists learn more about marine life. Ecologists can examine the stomach contents of dolphins and learn the specific fish they consumed to study the effects of chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyl or nitrogen.

Now, you can see why Whole Foods’ new guidelines and policies to save dolphins by mandating new tuna-catching methods are so important. The Whole Foods policy requires all fisheries that supply canned tuna to use pole and line, troll, or hand-line capture methods. Fisherman will be catching one fish at a time, which prevents bycatch. The Whole Foods policy requires tracking of canned tuna back to the source with electronic traceability software. Whole Foods is tracking the tuna from boat to cannery.

The new Whole Foods guidelines and requirements go along with many of the new compliance rules designed to improve and upgrade traceability of imported seafood in NOAA’s Seafood Import Monitoring Program that goes into effect in January of 2018.

These new guidelines and policies will interest those who work in the fish industry and enjoy eating tuna. According to the National Fisheries Institute, Americans consumed more than 700 million pounds of canned tuna in a study conducted in 2015. The number averages out to about 2.2 pounds of tuna per person. It shows that Americans love tuna and make it among the top three kinds of seafood consumed in the United States.