Fresh tuna and the sustainable diet has recently been on my mind

I noticed that in this busy news week the UK’s official advice on oily fish changed.

Fresh tuna no longer counts as an oily fish.
Current data shows that levels of omega-3 in fresh tuna are comparable to those found in white fish.

The recommended amount of oily fish for adults in the UK is around 140g a week e.g  from salmon, mackerel and sardines.

But where does fresh tuna come from?

The Tuna Economy

I visited the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo in May 2017 and saw the early morning tuna auction. Different tuna species from all over the world are auctioned at this market.

They sell 2000 tuna daily worth over US$1 million, 500 fresh and the rest frozen.

Fresh tuna on auction at Tsukiji market, Tokyo, 2017


Nutrition recommendations are made with public health in mind, but where do you go to find out the economic impact and sustainability of your daily food choices?

Sustainable fresh tuna consumption

To answer my question on tuna, I turned to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) website

I found a detailed analysis of the sustainability of each type and species of fish. I particularly liked the summary explaining the best fish to eat with respect to sustainability.

Happily, many of the oily fish types recommended by Public Health England are available from sustainable sources, but it got me thinking. The global population will be around 9.5 billion people by the year 2050. We need to look at nutrition and the sustainability of our food sources as an interconnected issue otherwise dietary inequality is likely to become even worse.

As individuals we make decisions based on the information we have available, therefore better information should encourage better choices.
For those who can afford to choose what they eat, a solution for combining nutrition and sustainability information would be a step in the right direction.