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Can you in good conscience eat tuna?

The four main species of tuna, albacore, bluefin, yellowfin, and skipjack, are severely overfished in most areas. According to WWF, however, it is possible to eat tuna without a guilty conscience if it is caught with a hand line or rod from certain regions. Fishing with a line is a much more sustainable method than nets because you only take up part of the shoal, which ensures that the fish stocks remain healthy.


When you buy sustainably fished tuna, you also help create jobs for the local population, due to the fact that several fishermen are needed when you catch each fish with a line.


Fishing regions that are considered a good choice to buy tuna from, according to WWF:


  • Yellowfin tuna (T. albacares): if fished with a handline or rod in the western and central Pacific, off Indonesia or the Philippines

  • Skipjack/bonito (K. pelamis): fished with handline or pole in the Indian Ocean (Indonesia EEZ), West Central Pacific or West Central and North Atlantic

  • White tuna/albacore (T. alalunga): fished with pole or longline in the Pacific Ocean, if fished with longline in the Atlantic, if fished with handline or longline in the South Atlantic (South Africa EEZ)

  • Tonggol (T. tonggol): fished with rod or longline in the west-central Pacific


Avoid buying tuna fished with nets, longlines and trawls.


Image credit: Laika ac / CC BY-SA 2.0

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