Food - Drink
What Does The 'FAD-Free' Label On Canned Tuna Mean?
By MEGGAN ROBINSON
Environmental sustainability of seafood has become a hot topic, and consumers may feel like they need to memorize countless terms just to avoid buying species that are overfished or harvested using harmful methods. When shopping for the ever-popular canned tuna, you might see the term “FAD-free” on a can and wonder what it means.
The Marine Stewardship Council says that labeled “FAD-free” is caught without using a Fish Aggregating Device. This device floats on the surface of water and casts a shadow that attracts some marine species, making them amazingly effective at luring in tuna; FADs tripled the total amount of tuna caught between 2018 and the 1990s.
Unfortunately, FADs support overfishing and increase the likelihood of catching unwanted species, or bycatch. Most vessels that use FADs also use enormous nets to indiscriminately capture large amounts of sea creatures, meaning that fishes may harvest protected species, endangering their lives and already-dwindling populations.
Galapagos Conservation Trust also notes that in 2015, over 100,000 drifting FADs were launched, but only 10% were recovered, leaving the rest to pollute our oceans. Attempts to regulate FADs haven’t been effective, and seeking out FAD-free tuna is the only way to ensure that your money will not support unsustainable practices.