Where are you getting your tuna?
There's a lot of buzz around tuna caught with a pole and line. Greenpeace says it's more sustainable than tuna caught using a purse seine or longline. The Seafood Choices Alliance offers some support for this fishing method in Afishianado, saying "development of well-managed pole and line tuna fisheries can represent a win-win situation."
Now entering the debate--the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation with a new report on a sustainability concern with pole and line fishing. The concern? It takes a lot of bait to catch all that tuna on hooks. What's the conclusion of the study? Catching all the baitfish could be a major sustainability problem. Agritrade raises some practical concerns, wondering how to convert all the boats, gear, and skills.
Like a lot of debates, there's probably truth on both sides. Pole and line tuna fisheries have some strong advantages, but it's probably not feasible to replace all tuna fisheries with new pole and line fishing. Unless we're going to cut way back on tuna catching and eating, we probably can't switch to all pole and line.
And then there's the governance problem. Tuna are pelagic fish, ranging across oceans. If there's overfishing in a region or for a particular species of tuna, then pole and line fishing is catching unsustainable tuna just like everyone else. Unless we fix the broken tuna governance bodies and end overfishing, there's no way to catch truly sustainable tuna with a pole and line or anything else.