Tuna Warning Creates Bad Waves for the Seafood Industry


Tuna, canned and fresh, has splashed into the spotlight, creating bad waves and warnings and ultimately producing poor publicity for the seafood industry. The consumption of fresh tuna has tanked substantially. Canned tuna has also plummeted to the bottom of sales for the first time in 15 years, sinking to 30 percent. Tuna is being anchored along with other fish for being unhealthy due to pollutants.

Tuna contains omega-3, a fatty acid that assists the immune system, brain development and the heart. Omega-3 is also a staple in the diet of those who avoid red meat, as fish is rich in protein. In addition, the acid helps with gum disease and boosts immune health to fight bacteria. Fish oil pills containing the substance are recommended as an important dietary supplement along with other essential vitamins and minerals.

Trash found in the sea contaminates the ocean, placing consumers at risk for sickness. Due to water pollution, mercury and waste found in the sea, fish has been regarded as dangerous by environmentalists and dietitians. Mercury can have bad effects on the nervous system, and generally all fish is considered unfit for consumption by pregnant women, whether cooked, raw in sushi or canned.

The seafood industry has been steadily lucrative in creating jobs and catching sales. In 2012, jobs reached 1.3 billion in U.S. commercial saltwater fishing, cashing in at $199 billion in consumption. Contrary to the good market reeling in, fish prices continue to rise. Even canned tuna prices have heightened. Nonetheless, millions of pounds of tuna continue to be eaten per year.

Historically, tuna was minimally consumed prior to the 1900s. Tuna was considered unfit for human consumption or in crass words, trash. Marketing schemes in the mid 1900s, promoted the fish as tasting like chicken. The low price matched with the benefits written on the packaging of tuna, turned the fish into an essential for the cabinets of families in America. By 1950, tuna was the most eaten fish, more than salmon.

Canned tunas’ bland taste was used to add protein to salads, sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres. Canned tunas’ versatile taste matched with no fuss cooking was stockpiled for lunches and casserole dinners. The infamous incarnations of tuna macaroni casserole served as a delectable family table favorite. Tuna is now a hit or miss at the family table. Long withstanding research into mercury with tuna has created troubled waters for tuna over the years. Warning of high volumes of mercury in tuna continues to create more controversy with the seafood industry and ultimately bad waves for the shelf life of tuna for customers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are trying to decide whether or not tuna fish consumption for everyone should be adjusted due to growing mercury concerns. Sustainability for canned tuna such as earth friendly packaging also has detrimental effects on the livelihood of the once beloved fish. For the most part, the FDA sees no harm in children and pregnant women consuming tuna. The National Fisheries Institute, who plays an integral role in restaurants and seafood companies, has paid close attention to the controversy, not agreeing with the FDA. In fact, mercurial warnings have been scientifically proven for the past 40 years.

The truth of tuna mercurial absorption surfaced in the 1970s when a New York chemist traced dangerously high amounts of mercury in canned tuna. The FDA ended up recalling 1 million cans. Tuna has the ability to absorb the mercury in the fat.

In 2014, weight plays a key concern. Too much tuna can be bad for an individual depending on their weight. Canned tuna is economically and environmentally insufficient to sustaining the earth. Between sea pollutants and the can the tuna is served in, the new tuna warnings making waves is causing bad waves for the seafood industry dragging down Americas’ chicken of the sea with it.

By Jordan Davis



The Fiscal Times

Healthy Eating

Washington Post

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