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The organisation said 46% of the global tuna catch is now engaged in the MSC programme

The volume of Marine Stewardship Council-labelled tuna sold in UK retail grew by 64% last year with an estimated 14,120 tonnes sold, according to new data from the NGO.

The MSC said “thanks to retailers and brands recognising and rewarding tuna fisheries that have met the MSC standard for sustainability”, the availability of sustainable product had improved significantly over the past year.

Some 46% of the global tuna catch was now engaged in the MSC programme, either via an MSC-certified fishery or one that was in assessment.

“A tremendous amount of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this point, and we would like to congratulate all those who have spent years supporting improvements within tuna fisheries that have made this progress possible,” said Seth McCurry, MSC UK & Ireland senior commercial manager.

It also expected availability to continue to improve, with core companies including Tesco and Princes pledging to be 100% MSC certified by 2025.

Progress had also been made by Aldi, which recently introduced a range of MSC-labelled canned tuna products, whilst Waitrose completed the rollout of MSC-labelled pre-packed chilled tuna to all its stores earlier this year – the first retailer to hit this milestone.

Tesco also made progress towards its 2025 goal with the introduction of three labelled canned tuna products in brine and sunflower oil last year, and all its chilled and frozen tuna was certified sustainable this month.

MSC also praised New England Seafood International (NESI) for progress made in chilled tuna, with the business’s work in supporting its Korean suppliers on their journey to MSC certification applauded by the NGO.

Its brand Leap has also certified its six albacore and yellowfin chilled products, making the entire brand MSC certified.

“Yellowfin and albacore tuna are NESI’s core species and an integral part of our seafood offering to UK and European retailers and foodservice customers,” said Ruth Hoban, head of sustainability at NESI.

“NESI has worked with tuna suppliers in South Korea on the journey towards MSC tuna – a journey we embarked on over a decade ago, and a journey that customers, governments and NGOs have joined and endorsed to secure sustainably sourced tuna.”