We’ve ranked the major Australian canned tuna brands and supermarkets on their commitment to sustainability and human rights. Since our first guide, every brand in our ranking has committed to stop using destructive FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) and many have made other big improvements. But who isn’t keeping their promises?

Australians eat about 50,000 tonnes per year, but the global tuna industry is plagued by destructive fishing practices, illegal fishing, human rights abuses, and wasteful ‘bycatch’ from the use of FADs that kill sharks, turtles and other marine life. Scroll down to make a better choice the next time you buy tuna.

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Fish 4 Ever can

Fish4Ever ranked 1st again! This UK company still provides the best example of fair and environmentally responsible tuna on the Australian market. Fish4Ever pioneered low-impact, responsible pole and line caught tuna in Australia and its commitment continues undiminished to promote fisheries that benefit local communities.

100% pole and line caught tuna

Mostly skipjack tuna caught in coastal Portugal and Senegal

Promotes fisheries reform in political, industry and consumer forums

Supports local coastal fisheries and pays a premium price to local fishers

Clear, honest, comprehensive labelling

Good traceability

Good human rights / labour commitments

STILL ON TOP

Fish4Ever is still the benchmark for responsibly-sourced tuna in Australia. We look forward to seeing Fish4Ever continue to be a leader in creating positive change in the tuna industry for workers and the environment.

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John West can

John West ranked 2nd this year. It has made big improvements since we started the Guide and is now one of the better choices for responsibly fished tuna. John West is continuing to improve its sustainability practices and has met its commitment to source only FAD-free tuna. John West has a good traceability and sourcing policy and all of its tuna is MSC certified. John West is also engaged in a sustainability project in the Pacific that aims to improve environmental and social outcomes for coastal communities. A positive example of what can be achieved when a company takes sustainability seriously.

Excellent traceability - only sources 100% MSC certified tuna

Sources mostly skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Supports marine reserves and sustainability projects

Does not allow transshipment

Committed to sourcing FAD-free tuna

Committed to driving change and has excellent communication on sustainability

Good labelling, but should include ‘FAD-free’ on all labels

Good human rights / labour commitments, but room for improvement

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Safcol can

Safcol came in at 3rd place. It is still one of the best widely-available tuna brands in Australia. Using mostly pole and line caught skipjack tuna, Safcol has maintained its commitments to sourcing only 100% ‘pole and line’ and FAD-free skipjack tuna. That means all Safcol tuna in supermarkets is fished using responsible methods. Safcol should improve its social responsibility policy and invest in measures to ensure better traceability.

Sources 100% responsibly caught skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Committed to sourcing pole and line and FAD-free tuna

Supports marine reserves

Does not allow transshipment

Promotes sustainable fishing methods and the conservation of overfished tuna species

Good labelling, but should include specific catch area on the label

Room for improvement on human rights / labour commitments

Should improve audits to verify its sustainability and responsible sourcing policies

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Aldi can

ALDI Australia took 4th place. It is taking improved sustainability seriously, thanks to its commitment to traceability and transparency on its labels. ALDI is currently only sourcing pole and line and FAD-free tuna, but should make some firmer policy commitments. By offering the consumer clear sustainability messaging on cans and in-store advertising, ALDI are going the extra mile to promote responsible fishing practices. Unfortunately, ALDI still uses yellowfin tuna, so be sure to choose its more sustainable Portview skipjack option instead.

100% ‘Pole and Line’ and FAD-free sourced tuna

Publicly supports marine reserves and does not source from high seas pockets

Good traceability and approach to transparency

High level of sustainability information available online and in store

Good human rights / labour commitments, but public commitments could be clearer

Good labelling, but should include clearer information on the catch area

Should phase out Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna

Should make a firmer commitment to end transshipment and to rule out FAD-caught tuna permanently

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Sirena can

Sirena ranked 5th. It has successfully transitioned to 100% pole and line tuna. Sirena supports locally owned fisheries and development initiatives and has good policies in place to avoid illegal and unregulated fishing. It also has excellent traceability and transparency. Sirena continues to rely on yellowfin tuna, but it uses the most responsible fishing method – pole and line.

100% pole & line sourced tuna

Supports positive sustainability and development initiatives

Good traceability and approach to transparency

Supports marine reserves

Does not allow transhipment

Improved labelling, but should include clearer information on the catch area

Room for improvement on human rights / labour commitments

Should reduce reliance on less-sustainable yellowfin tuna

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Coles can

Coles has taken 6th place. It has successfully made the transition to FAD-free and pole and line tuna. Coles has a solid sustainability and ethical sourcing policy for its private label tuna and sources mostly skipjack. All Coles brand tuna is now being sourced with responsible fishing methods. Coles has also invested in research that supports better traceability in the Pacific. We welcome Coles’ improving approach to transparency.

Sources 100% FAD-free tuna, mostly skipjack from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Strong on labelling by supplying species name, catch method and catch area

Good traceability

Good human rights / labour commitments

Should improve auditing to verify ethical sourcing commitments

Should make a commitment to end transshipment

Should make a commitment not to source from protected areas and proposed marine reserves

Should improve transparency

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IGA can

IGA’s private labels came 7th. IGA has made big improvements to labelling and transparency in the past, but they still need to get to know their supply chain better. IGA needs to improve its sustainability and social responsibility policies. Labelling on catch method and tuna species is inconsistent across its private labels. IGA needs to improve its transparency in backing up its claims. Some IGA stores stock the worst performing brand, Greenseas, but individual store owners determine stocklines.

100% skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Only sources FAD-free tuna

Supports Pacific Commons marine reserves and fisheries improvement

Labelling needs improvement - inconsistent across labels and not all include species name, catch method or catch area

Limited independent traceability - audits should be conducted on suppliers

Transparency needs improvement - limited supporting documents provided

Should improve human rights and labour commitments

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Woolworths can

Woolworths’ private labels took 8th place this year. Woolworths have made good commitments in the past, but it needs to back these up with a commitment to transparency. Woolworths should provide more evidence to verify the traceability of their tuna and other sustainability and ethical sourcing commitments. Not all of its private label tuna cans are labelled with the specific catch method. Woolworths is also the only major retailer continuing to stock Greenseas, the last brand still using destructive FADs. We look forward to seeing Woolworths do better next year.

Currently sourcing pole and line and FAD-free tuna only - some MSC certified

Sources mostly skipjack from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Has an improved ethical sourcing policy, but room for improvement

Should phase out Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna

Should make a commitment not to source from the high seas and marine reserves and to end transshipment

Labelling needs improvement - should disclose specific fishing method on all products

Transparency needs improvement - limited supporting documents provided

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Sole Mare can

Sole Mare came 9th. Sole Mare claims it sources only FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna, but it needs to make improvements to its traceability auditing. Its product range is still based entirely on less responsible yellowfin tuna, and it is still developing its sustainability policy and information disclosure processes. We look forward to seeing Sole Mare do better in future.

Sources only FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna

Exclusively uses yellowfin tuna and should phase out Indian Ocean stock

Needs to make a firmer public commitment not to source FAD-caught tuna permanently

Improved labelling, but should be clearer on catch area

Should improve human rights and labour commitments

Needs to make sustainability and ethical sourcing policies publicly available

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Greenseas can

Greenseas is miles behind at 10th place and the bottom of the pile. It is the only brand to have abandoned its commitment to sustainability. It was the first big brand to make the positive commitment to stop using destructive FADs, but has failed to follow through. Greenseas fails the transparency test – providing no evidence to prove it can trace where its tuna comes from. It has also removed commitments and sustainability information from its website. Its human rights record is unknown. None of this is good enough. Vote with your wallet, and choose another brand.

Labelling for species included, but silent on use of FADs

Unable to ascertain commitment to human rights and labour issues

Continues to use FADs, with no sign of following through with its commitments to go FAD-free

Seems to have made no improvements since 2013

Lacks transparency - no evidence provided to prove traceability

No publicly available sustainability or ethical sourcing policy

THE BOTTOM OF THE STACK

Don't be fooled by their name! Greenseas is showing no signs of keeping its commitments and is the only brand that still uses destructive FADs. Most Australian tuna brands are striving to do the right thing, but Greenseas has unfortunately gone backwards. We urge Greenseas to reaffirm its commitment to end destructive fishing practices and to improve their transparency. In the meantime, choose another brand.

Why this guide?

The 2017 Tuna Guide ranks each brand available on the Australian market on its proven sustainability and human rights performance. The global tuna industry is plagued by destructive fishing practices, illegal fishing, mismanagement, human rights abuses, and wasteful ‘bycatch’ that kills sharks, turtles and a cast of endangered marine life.

Since launching the Canned Tuna Guide in 2010, every brand and retailer has shifted to 100% FAD-free or pole and line and many committed to less destructive fishing practices.

How were the brands ranked?

Brands and retailers are ranked on a number of criteria, including sustainability policy, fishing methods used, tuna species caught, traceability, labelling, support for marine conservation, fairness, legality, as well as human rights and supply chain labour issues.

Our guide makes it simple: GREEN options are the better choices for responsibly sourced tuna, YELLOW options need improvement and RED are the worst choices currently on Australian shelves.

Tuna Glossary

It’s hard to understand all of the different labels and technical terms that are used to describe the tuna on supermarket shelves. Check out our glossary of key terms to learn more.

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