Clover Leaf Canned Fish and Sustainability Efforts

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Clover Leaf Canned Fish

Have you ever wondered what exactly goes into the Clover Leaf canned fish that you serve to your family? Many consumers are taking an interest in how products such as canned fish go from the ocean to your plate. This is especially true now with concerns about tuna sustainability and global fishing stocks being depleted.
Clover Leaf is dedicated to realizing great improvements in the overall sustainability of its fishing operations and improving the transparency of its products. Adopting and developing sustainability practices ensures that Clover Leaf will be able to continue meeting consumer demand for canned tuna by ensuring that tuna stocks remain strong. Increasing product transparency means that Clover Leaf is knowledgeable about and accountable for every aspect of the products that are sold, including where the fish was caught, where it was processed and how it got to the store. 

How Is Clover Leaf Improving Sustainability?

Clover Leaf has already reached an exceptional level of sustainability (at least 95%) (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014a). Clover Leaf understands that improving sustainability is a continuous commitment and continues working diligently to assess and further improve existing sustainability efforts.
Clover Leaf sources most of its tuna from fisheries, which use FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) (Tuna Sustainability, 2010). FAD fishing is an extremely efficient method of fishing, especially when the target is free-swimming schools of fish such as tuna. The higher efficiency of the FAD fishing method means that:
  • Fewer vessels are needed to catch larger quantities of fish.
  • The vessels utilize less fuel chasing the fish.
  • The vessels spend less time on the ocean.
Studies have shown that levels of non-tuna bycatch (non-targeted marine life that is caught incidentally) from FAD fishing are comparable or less than other industrial fisheries (Laurent Dagorn, 2012). The area that is fished also has a major influence on the bycatch levels for FAD fishing. FADs allow a vessel to take a targeted approach, therefore minimizing the need to chase after free-swimming tuna schools, which can waste resources, and fuel, thus impacting the environment (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014b). It is important to understand that all methods of fishing result in some bycatch and not all bycatch is wasted - in many cases the marine life is returned to the ocean alive. Since 2011, ISSF’s Bycatch Project has conducted globally coordinated cruises with fishers and scientists to gain input to identify improvements within the tuna purse seine fishery focused on reducing environmental impact of fishing for tuna with FADs. The researchers findings are used in skipper workshops, globally, resulting in identifying best practices, new techniques and enhanced technologies to minimize bycatch on FADs and improving tuna fisheries (Patterson, 2014)

Improving Sustainability Together

As a founding member, Clover Leaf is working extensively with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) to assess fishing practices in order to lower bycatch levels even further. The ISSF is a global organization composed of leading scientists, members of the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization who are all focused on promoting science-based initiatives for the long term health of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.
The ISSF has been instrumental in improving best FAD fishing practices and further minimizing the bycatch levels associated with FAD fishing. Many fishermen are using non-entangling nets today as a result of scientific research by the ISSF (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014c).
Together with the ISSF, Clover Leaf is tackling the toughest sustainability challenges and implementing changes today that will ensure that tuna stocks remain abundant for future generations.

Works Cited

Laurent Dagorn, K. H. (2012, October 3). Fishing with FADs – Good or Bad? Retrieved October 10, 2014, from ISSF:


The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014a). FAQ - What does 'sustainable seafood' mean? Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014b). FAQ - Greenpeace says fishing on FADs is destructive. Why does Clover Leaf fish on FADs? Retrieved October 10, 2014, from Clover Leaf Sustainability:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014c). FAQ - How much bycatch is caugh using FADs. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

Tuna Sustainability. (2010, December 23). Glossary: FAD. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from YouTube:

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