Safeway, one of the largest food retailers in the United States, is now stocking“Responsibly Caught” skipjack, sourced solely from tuna vessels that do not employ the use of Fish Aggregating Devices(F.A.D.s).
F.A.D.s, which I wrote about last year, act as giant lures, drawing in all types of sea life: from juvenile tuna and other non-target finfish to sharks, sea turtles and rays, all of which are then scooped up into nets and killed. Every year, tuna canning companies (Chicken of the Sea, StarKist and Bumble Bee, for example) kill countless numbers of these animals in their quest for cheap tuna. Safeway’s new initiative will provide the U.S. consumer public with 4.5 million cans of tuna per year that don’t endanger the health of our oceans or the animals that inhabit them.
“The truly surprising aspect of this development, though, is the price,” says Trenor. Safeway’s Safeway Select skipjack is priced on par with or even lower than conventional tuna caught by F.A.D.-associated vessels. So, he says, “promoting more sustainable options rather than supporting the damaging and greedy behavior of the conventional tuna companies will actually save people 51 cents per 12-ounce can.”
Environmentally conscious brands like Wild Planet and Whole Foods’ proprietary “365” label have provided pole-and-line skipjack and albacore to American consumers for some time, but the Safeway product is the first F.A.D.-free option at such an approachable price. Some progress, anyway.