Students demand foodservice giant give them sustainable tuna now

Published on
May 29, 2015

Here’s what the kids are doing these days: More than 30 high school and college student groups have signed a letter postmarked to Aramark requesting that the foodservice company serve sustainable tuna from now on.

“Oceans are in crisis,” the letter said, and big contributors to the current turmoil are destructive and unsustainable practices employed by fishers, particularly when it comes to wild caught, canned tuna.

The correspondence goes on to list three major problems associated with unsustainable tuna fisheries:


  1. Environmental devastation and waste. The use of fish aggregating devices, or FADs, in combination with large purse seine nets kills tons of other marine life including sharks, rays, marine mammals, sea turtles and juvenile tuna from vulnerable stocks. Another commonly employed fishing method for albacore tuna is the use of conventional longlines. Longline fishing kills seabirds, sharks, marlin, turtles, and other non-target fish.
  2. Human rights concerns and illegal fishing. Human rights abuses are growing concern throughout the fishing industry. Illegal fishing has plagued the tuna industry and vessels operating out of sight or illegally are breeding grounds for slave labor and poorly treated crew.
  3. Food security and inequitable fishing. Industrial fishing fleets deprive local small-scale fishers of tuna and damage local economies and livelihoods.

Pole and line, trolling and FAD-free purse seining are all methods that the industry can use to make their practices more sustainable, and the students urge Aramark to purchase seafood caught by fisheries that employ these efficient processes.

It’s time for Aramark to keep its commitment to transition to sustainably caught seafood by 2018, which imbues that the company switch to sustainably caught tuna now, the letter concluded.

View the letter in its entirety, as well as a complete list of the institutions that signed it, in the window below.

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