Princes Tuna Just Made A Big Commitment To Sustainability

In March, Princes, the U.K.-based food and beverage group, announced that all of the branded tuna it sold in 2021 had come from responsible sources. Seafood Source explained that this meant it sourced its tuna from either fisheries that had received certification from the Marine Stewardship Council or from fishery improvement projects. The goal is to harvest purely sustainable tuna, which GreenPeace describes as tuna numbers that can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the tuna's own ability to do this and be caught without harming other non-tuna creatures.

There are doubts about whether this is really possible. On August 10, the BBC looked into the question of whether seafood could ever be truly sustainable. The answer is that it should be possible to eat sustainable seafood, but we would need greater transparency of where the fish came from, to eat a greater variety of seafood than we do now, and for companies to stop trawling methods of catching that also drag in creatures that will not be sold. For many, it would be easier to simply try vegan tuna, like the one VegNews covered on Wednesday. However, Princes intends to develop a fully sustainable brand of tuna and today it announced its next step.

Princes wants to work with certified fisheries only

Earlier today, Princes declared that it will expand upon its previous success. Seafood Source reports that the new goal is to source all of its tuna from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The roadmap for this dream involves having 25% of its tuna sourced from fisheries with MSC certification, 50% by 2024, and 100% by 2025. If successful, Princes will quintuple the amount of sustainable tuna in the U.K., reaching 11,000 metric tons.

This is more doable than it might sound because of the achievement Princes could point to in March — namely, that the fisheries without MSC certification were fishery improvement projects. These projects, MSC explains, sign up with the council to develop an improvement plan that will end with receiving certification. Between these projects transitioning to fully-certified fisheries and finding new certified fisheries to partner with, Princes believes its ambitious goal is not implausible. More importantly, there is public pressure to go this route anyway. As Princes Group Director for Seafood Neil Bohannon told Seafood Source, "Consumers want reassurance that the fish they are eating has been sourced sustainably and MSC certification is the best way of doing this."