What Is Wild Caught Tuna?

The simplest method is to check the label for the words “pole-and-line caught” or “troll caught.” This indicates that the tuna was not swept up in mass with other marine life but rather was taken one fish at a time.

The MSC-certified mark is another excellent indicator. According to Brownstein, the Marine Stewardship Council is the most respected certifying organization because it evaluates the management of fisheries, as well as individual fish populations and catch methods.

Disregard the terms “wild-caught” and “dolphin-safe.” The term “wild-caught” just denotes the absence of farming, which is typically the case with canned tuna. When dolphin bycatch was an issue decades ago, the term “dolphin-safe” was popular, but that is no longer the case. Hocevar claims that nowadays, repercussions on other species are more significant.


According to Kimura, farmed tuna has a pinkish appearance and is “slightly whiter than wild tuna,” whereas wild tuna is more vividly red, especially when exposed to the air.

The contrast between the two is much clearer on the palate. According to Kimura, who likens the mouth feel of eating farmed tuna to adding mayonnaise to one’s dish, the flesh of farmed tuna tastes fishy with no flavor or umami. This is because farmed tuna is fed a diet that is high in fat and protein and includes non-seafood. Even the slimmer cut of tuna feels fatty due to the watery quality of the fat.

As opposed to farmed tuna, which consumes fish like sardines and squid, wild tuna has a distinctive flavor that Kimura compares to “rich wine flavor” that is “not fishy” and “refined fat.”

The Four to Avoid and the Best Canned Tunas Available

There are many factors that set tuna species apart from the competition, including mercury content and sustainable fishing methods.

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When you need a quick lunch or dinner, you may rely on canned or jarred tuna from your cupboard. However, the quality of products on the market varies greatly. Before stocking up on tuna, there are many factors to take into account, including sustainability, nutrition, and health.

Making better informed decisions about canned fish can be started by consulting resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Site or Greenpeace’s canned tuna report, which assesses 20 well-known companies for their sustainability as well as ethical and fair trade policies.

There are a few main commercial types of tuna used in canning: albacore tuna, which is frequently harvested in the Pacific and is frequently sold as “white tuna meat” (although it can be caught in the Atlantic). Tuna marketed as “light” is skipjack. The western and central Pacific oceans are where the majority of the Pacific skipjack tuna is found. Skipjack and yellowfin tuna can be combined to make light tuna in cans.

It’s quite irritating since many tuna brands appear to have decent nutrition at first appearance, and the verbiage on their websites gives the impression that they are participating in ethical fishing and environmental policies. However, a brief check of news stories reveals the opposite, and regrettably, many popular tuna brands aren’t taking the necessary steps to be responsible.

Fish Caught Wild

Because they eat smaller fish and algae in their natural diet and come into contact with fewer bacteria and parasites, wild-caught fish are frequently healthier and have lower contamination from man-made poisons. The drawbacks include the high mercury content of many larger wild fish, as well as the possibility of overfishing and habitat damage from improper fishing techniques.

The main way that mercury enters streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans is by rainfall and surface water runoff. Mercury is a naturally occurring hazardous metal that is present at low quantities in air, land, and water. Bacteria transform it into methylmercury, a hazardous form of mercury for people.

Avoiding larger fish that have consumed smaller mercury-containing fish is the only approach to reduce the amount of mercury in wild-caught fish. Avoid orange roughy, marlin, swordfish, marlin, and king mackerel.

Fishing Techniques

It is our responsibility to choose canned tuna that has been caught using sustainable fishing techniques because the tuna population is declining every year. The phrase “wild caught” indicates that the tuna was not cultivated but rather caught in the ocean. Dolphin-safe/friendly tuna were not targeted, however this does not imply that other marine life is secure from harm from this manner of fishing.

The majority of tuna are caught using “purse seines.” A school of fish is encircled by a wide net, which increases the likelihood that other fish species will be caught in addition to the tuna. Fish aggregating devices (FADs), which are frequently employed to attract skipjack, also attract a variety of other fish, therefore tuna obtained without a FAD is designated as “FAD-Free.” Bycatch, or the accidental capture and killing of marine life that is not intended to be caught, is less often when fishing with a pole and line or a troll. Bycatch is bad for the ocean. A certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is provided to wild fisheries that satisfy different sustainability standards.

Is tuna from the wild healthy?

Even though tuna is highly nutrient-dense and full of protein, good fats, and vitamins, it shouldn’t be ingested every day.

Adults should consume 3-5 ounces (85-140 grams) of fish twice a week to receive adequate omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy nutrients, according to the FDA (10).

However, studies suggest that routinely consuming fish with a mercury content more than 0.3 ppm may raise blood mercury levels and cause health problems. Most tuna species weigh more than this (1, 11).

As a result, most adults should consume tuna in moderation and think about going with another fish that has a low mercury content.

When purchasing tuna, choose skipjack or canned light kinds over albacore or bigeye because they do not contain as much mercury.

As part of the suggested 2-3 servings of fish per week, you can eat skipjack and canned light tuna along with other low-mercury species including cod, crab, salmon, and scallops (10).

Eat albacore or yellowfin tuna no more frequently than once a week. Avoid bigeye tuna as much as you can (10).

You can consume skipjack and canned light tuna as parts of a balanced diet because they contain relatively little mercury. Bigeye, yellowfin, and albacore tuna should be consumed in moderation or avoided due to their high mercury content.

What distinguishes conventional tuna from tuna that has been taken in the wild?

However, in most cases, the choice between farmed and fished simply boils down to the quality of each product. All of these facts are fascinating and significant. Flavor is supreme. According to Chef Kimura of Fine Dining Lovers, farmed tuna tastes too rich and lacking in umami, and the quality of the fat on the meat is lower than that of wild tuna. On the other hand, wild tuna, according to Chef Kimura, is fuller in its umami and has a more evenly distributed and refined fat content. He ascribes these variations to the fishes’ nutrition. While in the wild, tuna eat squid and other fish, which results in varied flavor profiles, the tuna in farms are fed lipids and proteins to boost their weight gain.

Although these characteristics may be apparent to sushi chefs who have worked diligently to hone their skills and palates even before taking a bite, Chef Yamada Kenshi of Noshi Sushi tells the LA Times that, aside from the added fat content, most people can’t tell which sushi is made from farmed tuna and which is made from wild tuna. Which raises the question of which to eat and why it matters.

Do wild-caught tunas have a different flavor?

Even the slimmer cut of tuna feels fatty due to the watery quality of the fat. He claims that wild tuna, in contrast, consumes squid and sardines in the wild, giving it a peculiar flavor he refers to as “fish blood,” which Kimura also equates with “rich wine flavor” and “refined fat.”

Real tuna, like in Bumble Bee tuna?

Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), which is used by Bumble Bee, is procured by purse seiners, which enclose all the fish in a region in a huge net that is hauled taut at the top and bottom.

What kind of tuna is the healthiest to eat?

Mercury is released into the atmosphere through pollution, where it gathers in lakes and oceans and then ends up in fish. While all fish contain trace quantities of mercury, larger species like tuna tend to accumulate more of it. As a result, the more tuna we consume, the more mercury may accumulate in our bodies as well.

Health professionals and scientists have long argued over how much or whether it is even healthy to eat canned tuna, especially for children and pregnant women. A developing brain can be harmed by excessive mercury.

The FDA and EPA continued to recommend eating fish, particularly canned tuna, at least twice a week as a rich source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals in its guidelines published in January. (The united suggestions received harsh criticism and remain a contentious topic.)

According to the FDA and EPA, canned light tuna is the preferable option because it contains less mercury. White and yellowfin tuna in cans have greater mercury levels but are still safe to eat. Although bigeye tuna should never be eaten, canned tuna is never made from that species.

The federal recommendations also recommend eating a variety of fish rather than only canned tuna.

What’s in tuna that’s black?

Although you might not appreciate the intense flavor, that dark, almost-black portion in the centre of your tuna or swordfish steak is neither nasty nor unhealthy. It is a muscle that has a lot of the blood pigment myoglobin. However, keep in mind that myoglobin is the same iron-containing pigment that gives red meat its red color, lest that sound spooky to you.

When cooking the fish, you can leave it in as the stronger flavor of that one location won’t effect the remainder of the fish.

Is salmon preferable to tuna?

Salmon and tuna are both very nutrient-dense foods. They include a wealth of vitamins and minerals as well as a lot of protein.

Salmon has a moist texture and an oily flavor in large part because of its fat level, but tuna has a leaner meatiness due to its higher protein and lower fat content.

The following table contrasts the nutritious contents of raw 3-ounce (85g) servings of wild salmon, farmed salmon, and tuna:

Because salmon is a fattier fish than tuna, it has more calories. Though majority of the fat is from beneficial omega-3s, don’t let that stop you from enjoying it (5, 6).

Additionally, salmon has more vitamin D per meal than tuna does. The fact that this nutrient isn’t naturally found in most foods causes some people to struggle to acquire enough of it (5, 6, 8).

On the other hand, tuna is the undisputed champion if you’re seeking for a food that’s high in protein and low in calories and fat (7).

Although they are both very nutritious, salmon is superior since it contains vitamin D and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re seeking for more protein and less calories per serving, tuna is the winner.

Does mercury taint all tuna?

Canned tuna is a fantastic, inexpensive source of protein, polyunsaturated fats, and other nutrients, costing as little as A$1 per tin. Much less expensive than many varieties of fresh meat or seafood is a can of tuna.

Everyone can safely eat canned tuna as part of their seafood consumption, including expectant women.

Due to the usage of smaller tuna species and the fact that the tuna are typically younger when collected, canned tuna typically has lower mercury levels than tuna fillets.

Depending on your body weight and the specific brand of tuna you purchase, laboratory experiments we conducted for the ABC TV science program Catalyst in 2015 indicate that you might consume anywhere between 25 and 35 small tins (95g each) of tuna per week before exceeding the maximum mercury limits.