Longfishing lines favored by the big tuna companies stretch more than one hundred miles,baited with thousands of hooks.
As they drag through the ocean they snag tuna but also sharks,turtles,and hundreds of thousands of seabirds every year.Other boats drop”fish aggregation devices” or FADs-floats that middle of the ocean,enabling nets to scoop up fish faster than they are able to reproduce and trapping unwanted species as well.
“These methods are highly destructive for our oceans,and also destructive as a model for any company that wants to stay in business”.says David Pinsky,Senior Oceans Campaigner with the international environmental group Greenpeace USA,adding that,due to these aggresive means “we’re seeing significan declines in various stocks of tuna”.
That’s a big deal.in 2015,according to the National Fisheries institute,Americans consumed more than 700 million pounds of canned tuna–about 2,2 pounds per person.Ensuring stocks remain plentiful to feed that big appetite for a healthy low-cost protein is starting to become important to major retailers as well as environmentalists.
None if this is news to BIll Carvalho,president of Wild Planet Foods.His company has been following strict sustainability methods for more than 15 years,after the California native slowly realized that the way the industry operated was not in line with his core values.”From 1990 on ,i witnessed the disrespect that is shown to ocean species through harvest methods that are indiscriminate,non-selective,and result in egregious bycatch mortality and discard.” Carvalho says.”it really makes me sick to think that we humans can treat other life forms with such disregard and wanton disrespect for their right to live becouse our right to profit is greater.”
A 2001 visit to the monterey Bay Aquarium,an organization that pioneered sustainable-fishing advocacy,spurred Carvalho to action.He immediately stopped selling products that were environmentally harmful and launched Wild Planet in 2004 to focus on only sustainably caught seafood.For tuna,that means pole-and line caught or troll-caught.Pole-and-line is basically a high tech rod and reel.Troll-caught means that many lines are tossed overboard at once,each with a sigle hook,and hauled up by a single worker.Both minimize bycatch–the trapping of unitended species.
The early years tested his resolve.”For a while,it was a financial negative,”Carvalho recalls.