Whole Foods Brings Innovation to the Tuna Category with the Launch of Pole & Line Tuna and Deck Hand Premium Cat Food
Whole Foods, in partnership with American Tuna, is proud to introduce two new, exclusive tuna product lines that provide customers with unparalleled quality, nutrition, and traceability of the fish to its source. The Pole & Line tuna and Deck Hand Premium Cat Food brands come to Whole Foods via fishermen from the United States and the Maldives who catch tuna using a sustainable method called “Pole & Line.”
Keeping this long tradition alive off the Pacific Coast of the U.S. are fishermen whose families have fished albacore tuna in these waters for generations, even as the U.S. tuna fishing fleet largely moved to “foreign flags” starting in the 1970s. Meanwhile, community fishermen in the Maldives sustainably catch skipjack tuna using the same sustainable methods.
With the Pole & Line method, albacore fishermen use barbless hooks and poles to catch younger albacore tuna one at a time near the sea’s surface. This approach eliminates the longline fishing employed by most fishing fleets which results in the indiscriminate harvest of other species. The Pole & Line method harvests younger albacore tuna that are naturally lower in mercury and higher in healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids than their older, deeper-swimming counterparts.
In the Indian Ocean, Maldivian skipjack fishermen use barbless hooks and poles to catch skipjack tuna one at a time. Pole & Line harvested skipjack eliminates the need for purse seine fishing employed by most fishing fleets. Pole & Line fishing eliminates indiscriminate harvesting of other species, one of the major drawbacks of purse seining.
The tuna in Pole & Line and Deck Hand comes from two fisheries certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Receiving and maintaining this certification represents an ongoing commitment to three core sustainability principles of stock health, fishery management, and harvest method. Both the MSC Certified U.S. Pole & Line Albacore Fishery and the MSC Certified Maldivian Pole & Line Fishery ensure the tuna in your can comes from a sustainable fishery, pole caught one at a time.
Another core principle embodied in these products is the idea that customers have a right to know the source of the food they eat or feed their beloved pets. In the case of Pole & Line’s Albacore tuna, every catch is audited and can be traced to the exact captain and vessel that harvested the tuna inside the can. And all Pole & Line Skipjack and Deck Hand Premium Cat Food can be traced to a specific catch.
Pole & Line is available in five varieties: Albacore No Salt Added, Albacore with Salt, Albacore in Olive Oil, Skipjack No Salt Added, and Skipjack with Salt. Each 5oz. can contains a solid tuna steak which has been hand filleted and cooked to perfection (for appearance only). See reverse side for nutrition facts.
Deck Hand Premium Cat Food is available in a 5oz. can and in a sleeve containing three 3oz. cans. Customers can feed their felines with confidence because the same fish served to humans is also used in Deck Hand. The only difference is that Deck Hand contains tuna red meat (versus the white meat in Pole & Line). No part of the fish goes to waste. Like Pole & Line, Deck Hand contains pure tuna with no fillers or additives (the salt and olive oil used in three varieties are for flavor only).
Both lines are custom packed in Thailand. Why there and not in the United States? As noted earlier, the U.S. tuna industry has largely moved offshore. Today, there are no tuna canneries in the U.S. that can process the volume of sustainable tuna that Pole & Line and Deck Hand are making available to Whole Foods. American Tuna, Whole Foods’ partner in creating these products, hopes that growing awareness of sustainably caught tuna will provide the momentum and resources to enable tuna processing on this scale to make a return to U.S. soil in the not-too-distant future.
These Whole Foods exclusive lines are now available.
Helping Local Fishing Communities Thrive
Pole & Line and Deck Hand play a critical role in sustaining the Pacific and Indian Ocean communities from which our fleets operate. On the U.S. Pacific Coast, our sustainable approach supports the livelihood of artisanal fishermen and micro-canneries. Our fishing families keep a century-old tradition of sustainable, small-scale fishing alive.
In the Indian Ocean, our partnership with local Maldivian fishermen enhances the economic opportunities and well being of coastal communities, and doing so in a sustainable manner ensures that they will benefit well into the future.