Skipjack tuna grows and matures quickly, helping ensure that the majority of its populations are healthy and abundant. There are concerns with some of the methods used to catch it.
A portion of the Western and Central Pacific troll/pole fishery is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) .
Aku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, Katsuo
Skipjack is most often sold as canned light tuna and is the most common species found in tuna cans. It's also sold fresh or frozen. Some segments of the sashimi market prefer skipjack and use it interchangeably with yellowfin tuna in grilled or fried preparations. It's known as katsuo or bonito when prepared for sushi.
Skipjack tuna is found throughout many of the world's oceans. It matures at an early age making it more resilient to high levels of fishing than most other tuna species.
Skipjack is caught with troll, pole-and-line, purse seine and longline gear. There is little or no bycatch when skipjack is caught with troll or pole-and-line gear.
The bycatch associated with purse seining can be considerable, especially when these nets are set around natural floating objects or when "fish aggregating devices" (FADs) are used. Bycatch can include young tunas such as bigeye and yellowfin, and other fishes and sharks. There is considerably less bycatch when FADs aren't used - a method known as "unassociated purse seining." Unfortunately, skipjack caught in this way is not kept separate from the less environmentally friendly caught tuna and consumers have no way of differentiating the two. This results as an "Avoid" ranking as a precautionary approach for all purse seine-caught skipjack.
Longlines, one method used to catch tuna, result in large quantities of bycatch including threatened or endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. Since there are no international laws to reduce bycatch, these longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these species.
Look for skipjack caught with troll or pole-and-line, which has very low bycatch and is a "Best Choice."