It’s hard to quantify how environmentally harmful the foods we eat are, but the Huffington Post has taken a stab at it for Earth Day by compiling a list of the “Top Ten Most Harmful Foods for the Environment.” Tuna comes in at #8 on the list in terms of carbon footprint. But how accurate is that when we look at overall environmental destruction? When I think of the way tuna company Chicken of the Sea treats our oceans, US canned tuna merits a podium position.
The fishing practices used by canned tuna manufacturers like Chicken of the Sea are ripping up our oceans and bringing many tuna species to the brink of extinction. As well as overfishing, the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets mean that sharks, turtles and other marine life are caught as “bycatch” and then often thrown dead or dying back into the sea. For tuna lovers, another part of the problem is that large numbers of juvenile bigeye tuna end up in the can too, adding to the overfishing that has already put the species at risk of extinction.
I know Chicken of the Sea are aware of the destruction they’re causing because we’ve told them. And you’ve told them! Here at Greenpeace we also know canned tuna is an American favorite. But until the tuna industry begins investing more in sustainability and less in failed advertising campaigns [link], we need to find alternatives to tuna caught by destructive and wasteful practices.
Enter: Think Outside the Can. A new Greenpeace contest asking all of you good people to come up with alternative-tuna recipes. By Thinking Outside the Can, we can let Chicken of the Sea know that we won’t buy tuna caught unsustainably. So far we’ve had some great entries using tuna alternatives ranging from trout to garbanzo beans; you can check out a selection of them here to get some inspiration and to get those creative juices flowing.
So send Chicken of the Sea a message and send in your alternative-tuna recipes! First prize wins a $250 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma!