Ecological Concerns Caused By The Canned Tuna Industry

2309 words - 10 pages

Canned tuna quickly grew into one of the most popular seafood products in the United States due to low cost, and its source of protein; making it number two in the top ten consumed sea food products (Campling et al. 2007). Harvesting of the canned Tuna species has raised significant ecological issues and concerns related with economic and environmental sustainability (WWF n.p).

Types of Canned Tuna Species
There are five main commercial tuna species: Albacore, Yellowfin, Bluefin, Big Eye, and Skipjack. The most commonly canned species though include the Albacore Tuna, the Yellowfin tuna species, and the Skipjack tuna species (Canned Tuna, 2014). The following sections provide information regarding the biological species, habitat, trade name, fishing methods and their related advantages, disadvantages and the sustainability of the various canned tuna species.

Albacore Tuna
The scientific name for the Albacore tuna is the Thunnus Alalunga. It is typically a large fish, ranging at approximately 4 to 5 feet in length and weighs roughly 80-90 pounds. It is metallic, identified by a dark blue color running along its topside and a silvery white strip marking the sides of its belly. The Albacore are found in the tropical and warm temperate oceans. The specific locations of the species include the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. According to the sustainable canned tuna website, the Albacore Tuna is the most abundant and popular species of the canned fish because of its ability to survive in large populations in the temperate and tropical oceans. The trade name of the canned Albacore is the white meat tuna (Hilderbrand, 1-3).

Skipjack Tuna
Katsuwonus is the scientific name for the Skipjack tuna. It is a streamlined fish of medium size weighing in at about 70 pounds, with a maximum length of about 4 feet. Compared to other tunas this particular species have a short life span ranging from 8-12 years. They do not have scales, except on the corselet, these fish swim in schools and are opportunistic feeders, preying on a variety of fish. The canned skipjack tuna is found in the tropical, subtropical, and warm temperature waters. Trade name for the Skipjack is the light meat tuna. (NOAA, n.p)

Yellowfin Tuna
The Yellowfin tuna is known scientifically as the Thunnus albacares. This species grows rather rapidly, and has been known to reach lengths of up to 6 feet and weigh up to 400 pounds; they are able to reproduce once they reach the age of two and have a short life span of 6-7 years. These are torpedo-shaped fish, they can change in color from yellow to silver on their belly region, and are overall a metallic dark blue hue. Their name is attributed to their dorsal and anal fins and filets that are bright yellow. Yellowfin tuna are found in the tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. Trade name for this species is the chunk light tuna, these can be canned in either oil, brine (salt water), or natural spring water (NOAA,...

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