Blog

FishWise Visits StarKist in American Samoa

Created on Saturday, 03 December 2016

starkist
Photo Credit: Elsie Tanadjaja

In November and December of 2015, FishWise staff Mariah Boyle and Elsie Tanadjaja went on a trip to the South Pacific to learn more about tuna fisheries. Tuna is the third most consumed seafood in the U.S., with fresh and frozen offerings in steaks and sashimi along with the American staple of canned tuna. Tuna are impressive fish – they are large, migrate throughout the world’s oceans, and have specialized physiology to swim quickly and regulate their body temperatures. Mariah and Elsie visited several countries and many companies during their trip. One of these companies was StarKist, based in American Samoa.

StarKist has not only been a household name on the mainland, but has had a long history in American Samoa as well. Established in 1963, the StarKist cannery has become the largest private employer in American Samoa, representing approximately half of the island’s workforce. In fact, StarKist’s American Samoa cannery is the largest cannery in the world, producing over 60% of the island’s canned tuna. American Samoa plays a vital role in canned tuna production and the local economy depends on the canning industry in return.

StarKist’s parent company, Dongwon Industries based in South Korea, is one the world’s largest tuna processing companies with a forty-two vessel fleet. While visiting the facility, Mariah and Elsie were able to board one of company’s massive reefer carriers which stood three-stories tall!

Mariah and Elsie also had the opportunity to learn about StarKist’s efforts in sustainable and socially responsible fishing practices. As a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), StarKist works with ISSF scientists and industry members to support science-based conservation initiatives for the sustainability of tuna stocks and healthy ecosystems. StarKist also engages in multiple efforts to address potential risks for human trafficking and forced labor in its supply chains, such as contracting third-party audits of major suppliers for compliance in counter-human trafficking and anti-slavery laws.

FishWise would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to StarKist for their hospitality and for welcoming our staff to tour the facility and learn more about its operations. Gaining a better understanding of StarKist’s scale of operation and contributions to the local economy sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.

FishWise would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to StarKist for their hospitality and for welcoming our staff to tour the facility and learn more about its operations. Gaining a better understanding of StarKist’s scale of operation and contributions to the local economy sheds light on the work we do at FishWise and continues a positive and forward-thinking dialogue on how important it is to continue implementing and improving upon tuna sustainability and traceability within the industry.