Sustainability fears for tuna

Tuna importers face a bleak future as raw material prices continue to rise due to poor fishing. The Indian Ocean, which should have just finished three months of good skipjack catches, has not produced the volumes anticipated. This trend coincided with retail prices on promotion going down - Asda is offering 12 cans for £5. "The position is unsustainable with fish prices now more than $1,600 a tonne in Bangkok and higher elsewhere," said an importer. Prices to the trade were increased last September when costs went to $1,300 a tonne, so the $1,600 figure makes another increase inevitable. World demand for tuna in various forms is rising year-on-year although catches are well down. The likelihood of China becoming a major market raises serious questions over sustainability and closer scrutiny of overfishing.