Facts and Questions

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How long has Wild Planet been in business? 

Wild Planet has its roots in a major West Coast seafood company, Carvalho Fisheries. Carvalho Fisheries' principals, William Carvalho and Bill McCarthy, have a combined 45 years of experience in the seafood industry. They possess intimate knowledge of industry practices and in 2003 chose to discontinue involvement in fisheries that either employ harvest techniques that result in the wasteful discard of usable species or contribute to marine habitat damage. Wild Planet was created in 2005 to introduce a branded selection of sustainably caught seafood and Carvalho Fisheries was merged into Wild Planet in 2008.

We believe that conservation of wild habitat and harvest of wild seafood can successfully coexist. We strive to offer a product line consisting only of the most eco-preferable, wild seafood on the planet. Thus arose the name Wild Planet.

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How is Wild Planet fish caught? 

Our fish are caught one-by-one using hand lines and "pole and troll" methods. This insures that, unlike the long-line caught fish many companies use, other species of marine life such as dolphins and turtles aren't harmed. For more detail, please see view our page on Sustainability and Fishing methods.

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From where does the Albacore Tuna come? Is it wild or farmed raised? 

This wild caught albacore comes from the pristine waters off the Pacific Northwest in the United States. Please go to the Sourcing page of this web site for further information.

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Is Wild Planet Albacore packed in water or oil? 

Neither. We hand-cut and pack delicious sashimi grade tuna steaks. All the Omega 3 oils are retained and no liquid is added. This is 100% pure albacore tuna and sea salt in its own natural juices; please don't drain.

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Why is Wild Planet Tuna higher in calories than the large national brands of tuna? 

Since all the natural Omega 3 is present in the can, these nutritious oils contain calories, whereas the water in the national brands' tuna is devoid of both nutrition and calories.

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Why is the Omega 3 content higher in Wild Planet Tuna? 

Since we only cook our albacore once, all the natural Omega 3 is present in the can. The large national brands of tuna loose most of the Omega 3 in their pre-cooking process before the fish is put in the can with water or vegetable oil. They sell the extracted Omega 3 oil to supplement manufacturers to use in the production of Omega 3 capsules.

Let us provide you with your Omega 3s naturally, with high protein, high Omega 3 Albacore.

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Are there other nutritional advantages to eating fish rather than taking Omega 3 capsules? 

Research indicates that Omega 3s may be better absorbed from food than supplements. Norwegian researchers compared 71 volunteers' absorption of Omega 3s (EPA and DHA) from salmon, smoked salmon, cod (14 ounces of fish per week) or cod liver oil (3 teaspoons per day). Cooked salmon provided 1.2 grams of Omega 3s daily, while cod liver oil provided more than twice as much: 3 grams of Omega 3s per day.

While fish oil capsules may be a good source for boosting brain and health-giving Omega 3, salmon has an edge over fish oil as it provides a dose of selenium as well - an element many are lacking.

Selenium is an important antioxidant in the body and has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Researchers at Massey's Institute of Food, Health and Human Nutrition in New Zealand investigated whether fish or fish oil tablets is better for people to increase their Omega 3 fatty acid status.

When Massey researchers compared a group of healthy volunteers who ate a 120 gram portion of salmon twice a week with another group who took salmon oil capsules containing the equivalent Omega 3, participants were found to have similar levels of Omega 3 in the blood. What they also found was that the people who consumed salmon were able to significantly increase their blood concentrations of selenium compared to the group who took capsules.

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What can high Omega 3 foods do for you? 

  • Reduce inflammation throughout your body
  • Keep your blood from clotting excessively
  • Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
  • Lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
  • Decrease platelet aggregation, preventing excessive blood clotting
  • Inhibit thickening of the arteries by decreasing endothelial cells' production of a platelet-derived growth factor (the lining of the arteries is composed of endothelial cells)
  • Increase the activity of another chemical derived from endothelial cells (endothelium-derived nitric oxide), which causes arteries to relax and dilate
  • Reduce the production of messenger chemicals called cytokines, which are involved in the inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis
  • Reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism, and is expressed primarily by adipocytes (fat cells)
  • Help prevent cancer cell growth

What conditions or symptoms indicate a need for more high Omega 3 foods?

  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Joint pain

Albacore Tuna, Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent food sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Research indicates that Omega 3s may be better absorbed from food than supplements. Norwegian researchers compared 71 volunteers' absorption of Omega 3s (EPA and DHA) from salmon, smoked salmon, cod (14 ounces of fish per week) or cod liver oil (3 teaspoons per day). Cooked salmon provided 1.2 grams of Omega 3s daily, while cod liver oil provided more than twice as much: 3 grams of Omega 3s per day.

Despite the fact that the salmon group got less than half the amount of Omega 3s as the cod liver oil group, blood levels of Omega 3s increased quite a bit more in those eating salmon than those taking cod liver oil. After 8 weeks, EPA levels had risen 129% and DHA rose 45% in those eating cooked salmon compared to 106% and 25%, respectively, in those taking cod liver oil.

What are the functions of Omega 3 fatty acids?

Every cell in our body is surrounded by a cell membrane composed mainly of fatty acids. The cell membrane allows the proper amounts of necessary nutrients to enter the cell, and ensures that waste products are quickly removed from the cell.

EPA Directly Anti-Inflammatory

A recently identified lipid (fat) product our bodies make from EPA, called resolvins, helps explain how this Omega 3 fat provides anti-inflammatory effects on our joints and improves blood flow.

Resolvins, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in animal studies, are made from EPA by our cellular enzymes, and work by inhibiting the production and regulating the migration of inflammatory cells and chemicals to sites of inflammation. Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and the COX-2 inhibitors, the resolvins our bodies produce from EPA do not have negative side effects on our gastrointestinal or cardiovascular systems.

(source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84)

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Why is there so much less mercury? 

The troll-caught albacore in the North Pacific fishery are lower in mercury because these migratory fish are smaller (about 9 to 25 pounds) and younger (three to five years old) than the long-line caught older fish that reach up to 70 pounds after ten to fifteen years of growth. Naturally, the longer a fish lives and feeds, the more it bio-accumulates mercury.

While all fish caught along the West Coast are low in mercury compared to larger overseas fish, we have made it our quest to produce the safest possible product. We do this by packing only these smaller fish.

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How is Wild Planet's offering of smaller, juvenile tuna with less mercury consistent with a sustainability mission when these young fish have not had a chance to breed? 

There are two fishery segments targeting albacore tuna worldwide: 1) surface fisheries catching migratory juveniles and 2) deep water long-line fisheries capturing spawning stocks. It is counter intuitive to assume that the most sustainable method of catch is to shift effort to juveniles since they have never bred. However, if all fish should be allowed to breed before harvest then there would be no commercial salmon industry since all commercial salmon have also not bred. The salmon stocks are managed by assessment of percentage of capture versus escapement. If an adequate percentage escape capture to go on to reproduce, then the fishery is considered sustainable.

In the albacore world, the surface fisheries are artisanal methods of harvest that are fairly ineffective in capture compared to long-line fisheries. The West Coast troll and pole fishery captures less than 15% of the bio-mass resulting in 85% of the fish returning to the spawning stocks. This 85% escapement is sufficient to sustain the population of the species. Once a fish becomes a mature spawning adult it continues to increase in fecundity exponentially with age. A 10 year old female albacore produces many times more eggs than a 6 year old albacore. The same is true with rockfish or most other fish and is the key rationale for marine reserves designed to protect mega fauna (large spawning adults) in the reserves and allow catch of their offspring outside the reserves. There is scientific consensus that a harvest shift away from long-line caught mature albacore to migratory juveniles with proper escapement is the best model for sustainability.

Wild Planet has not changed the way fishermen fish or influenced the size of fish being taken in the fishery; we only segregate the smaller fish from the total catch brought in by the boats for our own Wild Planet brand and sell the remainder to other companies.

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Why is Wild Planet Tuna more expensive than the large national tuna companies such as Bumble Bee or Starkist? 

  • Wild Planet uses the highest quality raw materials
  • Our tuna is undiluted by additives or water
  • Our tuna is hand cut and packed to provide a whole tuna steak in every can, not a can of tuna flakes and never mushy.

All these make a tuna product that is VASTLY SUPERIOR to commodity branded tuna.

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Is there mercury or other chemicals in Wild Planet Salmon? 

Our salmon are wild-caught from pristine U.S. waters, and because of their short lifespan do not have an opportunity to absorb an appreciable amount of mercury.

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Are there phosphates in Wild Planet Shrimp? 

No. In line with our high standards for seafood, our shrimp is presented to you in its natural, healthy state and our shrimp are from an MSC certified fishery.

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What are the small crystals which resemble glass that are occasionally found in canned seafood? 

Rare in occurrence, these harmless crystals are formed by magnesium, ammonia and phosphate which are naturally found in canned seafood. During the canning and cooking process, it is possible for these elements come together as the crystalline form of magnesium ammonium phosphate which can resemble glass particles upon first glance.

Unlike glass, these crystals are regular shaped prisms with straight edges and can be crushed to a powder easily or dissolved by boiling in vinegar or lemon juice for a few minutes. Struvite is safe to consume -- natural stomach acids will readily dissolve the crystals and the beneficial minerals will be naturally absorbed by the body.

For additional information regarding struvite, please visit this link: http://www.fpa-food.org/content/consumers/crystals.asp

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Why are Wild Planet tuna and sardines caught in the US but packed in Vietnam? 

Unfortunately, there is no US sardine or tuna cannery capable of processing our volume requirements and the last sardine factory in the United States closed in 2010. In addition, the US cost of production would greatly increase the retail price beyond the reach of most families. Our goal is to make US-sourced sustainable seafood choices mainstream and thus have a greater impact on fishery harvest practices for the long-term good of ocean conservation.

We have elected to process our 5oz cans of albacore and skipjack tuna as well as our sardines in a highly respected partner facility in Vietnam. This facility offers state-of-the-art canning expertise in an immaculately clean, accredited environment that produces higher quality finished products than any cannery we have seen in the US.

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What is the carbon - load of producing these products overseas? 

We have studied this issue carefully, and are pleased to report that one of the lowest carbon-load forms of transportation on the planet is ocean freight. The carbon load of 26 tons of frozen tuna going from Seattle to Vietnam is miniscule and the finished cans returning are even less. Since there are no US canneries capable of processing these fisheries' fish, we are using the most efficient means to utilize them for domestic consumption. It is interesting that prior to our company expanding its sales of these fish, these very same pounds were being exported and not returned for domestic use.

The carbon load of these fish is much lower than the "local" Alaskan halibut and salmon flown to lower 48 states. It is also lower than seafood trucked from West to East Coast or East to West Coast. It is really not total miles traveled but the kind of miles that constitute carbon load. This is one of the reasons why studies have shown that ocean freighted New Zealand lamb has less carbon load when sold in London than Scottish lamb. Distance by ocean is a minor factor compared to energy inputs from feed production.

Please feel free to contact us any time for further clarification of these points.

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Are Wild Planet products gluten free? 

Wild Planet products do not contain and are not processed with any ingredients known to contain gluten. However, as our facilities are not certified as "gluten free" and because we do not batch test our products for the presence of gluten, we recommend you use this information in determining whether you should consume Wild Planet products based on your personal level of gluten sensitivity.

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Upon opening a can of tuna, why do I occasionally see a brownish coloring on one side of tuna? 

This brownish coloring is the natural result of NOT cooking the fish in a can of liquid. Because we do not add water or oil to our 100% pure, solid raw tuna packed into the can, the natural fat and juices that cook out during our once-cooked process is not enough liquid to surround all sides of the fish. Therefore, one side of the tuna may develop a caramelized appearance exactly like a roast browning in the oven. Once you know what it is, it is appetizing! As we prefer to offer tuna that retains all of the flavor and Omega 3 nutrients found in the natural juices, we elect to process our tuna this way instead of boiling it in a can of water or oil.

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Why are Wild Planet sardines so solid as compared to other brands? 

Wild Planet sardines are carefully selected and are the highest quality available in the California fishery. When a fish is really fresh and brought down in temperature quickly prior to rigor it has a firmness and density that is uncommon in most fisheries. The firm fish hold up very well in the cooking process in the can and result in a fish that can be taken out whole and intact. Some find this fish to be drier than other sardines and this is due to the prevention of the liquid medium absorption because the fish are so firm. A "mushy" sardine will absorb the liquid much more readily. We recommend breaking up the fish a bit to absorb the oil or sauce if the customer desires a more moist meat texture.

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What is Wild Planet doing to address the concern about the potential exposure of tuna and sardines to radiation as a result of the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the subsequently damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant? 

Our President and Founder Bill Carvalho has written an informative document which provides clear, concise information regarding radiation in Wild Planet products. Please see this link for a pdf of this document: Wild Planet Radiation Statement

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Wild Planet albacore and skipjack light tuna previously had BPA-Free messaging on the label. Why is that messaging no longer there? 

We have recently removed the BPA-Free message from our Albacore and Skipjack Light tuna cans. Please see the document written by our President and Founder Bill Carvalho found at this link for an explanation: Wild Planet BPA Statement

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