Safeway says ‘no’ to FAD-caught skipjack

Add Safeway to the list of retailers that will no longer source skipjack tuna caught by purse seine using fish aggregating devices (FADs).

On Friday, the U.S. retailer — one of the nation’s largest — announced that, by year’s end, its store brand canned skipjack tuna will be responsibly harvested using free-school purse-seine methods. “Free-school tuna is caught by purse-seiners using traditional methods of spotting schools of fish using radar and sonar, while captains employ powerful binoculars to spot birds attracted by schools of tuna,” said the company in a press release.

Safeway’s decision to eliminate FAD-caught tuna is part of its sustainable seafood sourcing policy, unveiled at last year’s International Boston Seafood Show. 

“Sourcing responsibly fished tuna is vital to marine ecosystem health,” said Phil Gibson, Safeway’s group director of seafood. “We are pleased to include the canned tuna category in our company’s Comprehensive Sustainable Seafood Policy.”

The specifications will be implemented over the coming year. The company is also is instituting additional specifications for responsibly sourced albacore tuna caught on longline vessels with improved fishing techniques.

In the press release, both FishWise and Greenpeace praised Safeway’s decision. “Safeway has just galvanized its hold on pole position within the U.S. retail industry in regard to sustainable seafood. Safeway’s canned skipjack tuna specifications are progressive, comprehensive, and visionary. They address the dangers of fish-aggregating devices,” said Casson Trenor, senior markets campaigner for Greenpeace.

A number of retailers and suppliers worldwide — including Sainbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, John West and Greenseas — have pledged to eliminate FAD-caught tuna.

Safeway operates 1,681 stores in the United States and western Canada and had 2010 sales of 41.1 billion.


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500