World Tuna Day is May 2, and unlike a lot of international food “holidays,” this one actually means something. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to shine a spotlight on this amazing fish and the real advocacy behind World Tuna Day.
Everyone loves tuna
Tuna is about as popular and beloved as a fish can be. In fact, a survey from the National Fisheries Institute found that canned tuna is the second most popular seafood in the US after shrimp.
It’s not hard to see why. Tuna is delicious, it’s packed with essential nutrients, and canned tuna in particular is a true staple ingredient. If you have a few cans in the pantry, you’ll always have a quick meal up your sleeve, whether that’s a casserole, a salad, or a simple tuna sandwich.
Tuna’s combination of reliability and versatility makes it easy to love—and Americans sure do love it. We eat roughly one billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna per year, according to the National Fisheries Institute survey. That’s a lot of tuna, but believe it or not, we’re not number one here. The European Union is the world’s largest tuna market by far, consuming 51 percent of the world’s canned tuna products. (The US and Japan are at 31 percent and 6 percent, respectively.)
And for those looking to eat a lower impact diet, tuna is considered one of the best protein choices due to its relatively low greenhouse gas emissions compared to beef and pork.
Why World Tuna Day?
International days and weeks (and sometimes years) of observance are an important advocacy tool for the UN. In the case of World Tuna Day, it represents their effort to educate the public about the sustainability issues tied to tuna fishing—but also a reason to celebrate progress.
When it comes to sustainability, while there’s still work to be done, there’s also lots of progress to celebrate. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the global tuna fishing industry has made serious changes since 2014, including these accomplishments:
- More than half (8 out of 13) of the world’s major commercial tuna stocks are no longer being overfished
- New techniques and equipment improvements have reduced bycatching and plastic pollution
- Closed 18 vulnerable areas to fishing, which helps to establish and protect precious marine ecosystems
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which certifies fisheries as sustainable, also uses World Tuna Day to raise awareness about overfishing and protecting tuna stocks for future generations. This year, MSC’s World Tuna Day theme is Yes We Can: It’s all about the steps that you can take to eat more responsibly.
Choosing responsibly sourced seafood is one easy way to make your lifestyle more sustainable. As one of the world’s leading seafood brands, Chicken of the Sea is committed to responsible business practices that preserve healthy ocean habitats. We’re committing to sourcing 100% of our tuna from fisheries that are either already MSC-certified or are on the pathway toward earning certification, and our product tracing tool makes it easy to see exactly where your can comes from. Consider us your partners in building a healthy, sustainable lifestyle—today and in the future.