1. How long has Wild Planet been in business?
The company was founded in 2004 by William Carvalho and Bill McCarthy. These two industry veterans, with a combined 50 years of experience, wanted to start a company that addressed the need to preserve the natural marine habitat while still harvesting wild seafood. It is their vision that these needs can successfully co-exist. Wild Planet Foods emerged from this vision with a product line of eco-preferable wild seafood. The natural ocean ecosystem is an abundant food production resource that must remain that way; the name Wild Planet arose from this concept.
2. How are Wild Planet fish caught?
Our tuna are caught individually using pole and troll methods. This ensures that no other marine life is caught or harmed in the process, unlike long-line and FAD (fish aggregating device) purse seine methods which are employed by many national companies and endanger other marine species.
Wild Planet’s pink salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel and yellowtail are “free school” purse seine caught and Wild Planet’s sockeye salmon is “free school” drift net caught. For more information please view our page on sustainability and fishing methods.
3. Where do the tuna come from? Are they wild or farm raised?
Wild Planet carries only wild caught products. Our albacore tuna comes from pole and troll fleets in the North Pacific working in the United States and Japan. We also source a smaller amount of albacore from pole and troll vessels working in New Zealand and the southern Pacific waters. Our skipjack and yellowfin tuna are pole caught in Indonesia and Japan by small-scale family fishing vessels.
4. Where are sardines and anchovies sourced?
Wild Planet offers two different varieties of sardines. Our traditional sardines, which include nutrient-rich skin and bones, are sourced in the North Pacific and canned at our partner facilities in both Vietnam and Thailand. Depending on seasonality, these sardines can be caught either along the Japanese coast or the North American coast. Our skinless and boneless sardine fillets are caught off the coast of Morocco, and canned at a partner facility there. Our white anchovies are primarily sourced and caught in the waters off Morocco and canned at a partner facility there as well. Occasionally, the white anchovies may be sourced in waters off the coast of Peru.
5. Are Wild Planet albacore and skipjack tuna packed in water or oil?
We place hand-cut sashimi grade tuna steaks in each can, retaining all the natural juices and Omega 3 oils, without adding any liquid. This is 100% pure tuna and sea salt so there is never any need to drain. An exception to this method is our tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil.
6. Why is Wild Planet tuna higher in calories than conventional brands?
Since we pack our tuna in its natural juices all of the Omega 3 oils are present and these oils contain calories. The added water in conventional tuna is devoid of both nutrition and calories. This is why Wild Planet tuna is highly potent nutritionally.
7. Why is the Omega 3 content higher in Wild Planet tuna?
We cook our tuna only once, in the can, retaining all of its natural oils. Most conventional brands cook their fish before putting it in the can and adding oil or water thereby losing much of its nutritional value.
8. Are there other nutritional advantages to eating fish rather than taking Omega 3 supplements?
Research has shown that obtaining Omega 3 Fatty Acids from food sources may be a better choice than using supplements. While concentrated fish oil capsules may be a good way of obtaining isolated Omega 3s, that refining process can eliminate other necessary nutrients that are present in whole fish, such as the anti-oxidant selenium, Vitamin D and calcium. Research has also shown that the absorption and blood pressure regulation properties of Omega 3s are much improved when they are consumed in whole fish, in the presence of these additional nutrients, proteins and co-factors.
9. 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
- DHA Omega 3 is critical for brain cell functioning
- Lower the amount of lipids (bad fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in your bloodstream
- Inhibits thickening of the arteries by decreasing endothelial cells’ production of a platelet-derived growth factor
- Improves the body’s ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helpsregulate fat absorption and metabolism in the body
- Helps prevent cancer cell growth
10. What conditions or symptoms indicate a need for more Omega 3-rich foods in your diet?
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Dry, itchy skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Inability to concentrate
- Joint pain
11. What are the functions of Omega 3 fatty acids?
Every cell in our body is surrounded by a cell membrane composed mostly of fatty acids. The membrane allows the necessary amounts of nutrients to enter the cell and ensures that waste products are quickly removed.
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.
12. What measures do we take to minimize the amount of mercury in our tuna?
The average mercury content of tuna rises with the age and size of the fish. Wild Planet only sources pole and line caught tuna, which are the younger and smaller migratory tuna that are caught at the surface. These fish have accumulated lower levels of mercury as compared to older and larger tuna and our annual testing protocol, summarized in the accompanying document, verifies that Wild Planet tuna products average 0.076PPM for Skipjack and 0.219PPM for Albacore. Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: Mercury Content In Tuna.
What cautions are in order when considering a brand’s claim of “lowest mercury level?” See this link to read some thoughts from Wild Planet Foods: A Few Words About Mercury.
13. How is Wild Planet’s offering of smaller, younger fish consistent with a sustainability mission when these fish haven’t had a chance to breed?
There are two fishing segments targeting albacore worldwide; surface fisheries which catch migratory juveniles and deep-water long-line which captures spawning stock.
The West coast pole and troll fisheries capture less than 15% of the bio-mass which means that 85% of the fish will return to spawning stocks. This escapement is acceptable in order to sustain the population of the species.
14. Why is Wild Planet tuna more expensive than conventional brands?
We use only the highest quality raw materials and in addition, our sustainable harvesting methods are more expensive and yield less product in comparison to long-line caught fish. Our tuna is hand-cut and packed, a labor-intensive process, so that you get a whole steak in every can – 5 ounces of fish compared to 3.5 ounces of fish and the rest water, as found in conventional tuna brands. In the end the taste and nutritional value are vastly superior to the competition.
15. Is there mercury or other chemicals in Wild Planet salmon?
All of our salmon are wild-caught from clean, clear waters in Alaska. Because of their shorter lifespan they do not have the chance to accumulate higher amounts of mercury.
16. Are there phosphates in Wild Planet shrimp?
Never. In keeping with our high standards for additive-free seafood our shrimp come to you in a natural, healthy state.
17. What are the small crystals resembling glass that are occasionally found in canned seafood?
These harmless crystals, called struvite, are formed by magnesium, ammonia and phosphate which are naturally found in canned seafood. Sometimes during the cooking process these elements come together and form what looks like tiny glass particles. They are safe to consume and natural stomach acids will dissolve the crystals which are then absorbed by the body.
18. Why aren’t Wild Planet tuna, sardines and anchovies canned in the U.S?
The last sardine factory in the U.S. closed in 2010 and there is no tuna cannery capable of processing our volume. Cost of production in the U.S. would also greatly increase the retail price of our products, making them difficult for the average family to afford. In order to support our mission of making sustainable seafood choices mainstream and accessible we have elected to process our albacore and skipjack tuna, as well as our sardines and anchovies in state-of-the-art partner facilities in Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco, Ecuador and occasionally Peru. Since Wild Planet sources from environmentally exemplary fisheries around the world, our selection of the strategically located canning facilities noted above also result in less transportation distances overall. Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: Processing Facility in Vietnam.
19. What is the carbon-load of producing these products overseas?
We have studied this issue carefully and have concluded that ocean freight is one of the lowest carbon-load forms of transportation on the planet. The carbon load of 26 tons of tuna traveling from Seattle to Vietnam is much lower compared to local fish that is trucked or flown around our country every day.
20. Are Wild Planet products gluten-free?
All of our products have been tested for the presence of gluten by a third party testing agency. The results indicate non detectable for gluten. We attribute these results to the fact that our products naturally do not contain gluten – we simply pack fish and salt into our tuna and salmon canned products. Some varieties of our sardines do contain additional ingredients, all of which are also naturally free of gluten.
21. Do Wild Planet products contain soy or soy-based ingredients?
None of our products contain soy in any form. Unlike many brands of tuna, Wild Planet tuna does not contain vegetable broth, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins or any other liquids or fillers, which often do contain soy. Wild Planet tuna is packed in its own natural juices, and certain varieties do include sea salt. Our sardines and anchovies are packed in either water, olive oil or marinara sauce, which do not contain soy. Wild Planet salmon is packed similarly to our tuna products — simply the natural juices from the fish itself and salt. Our shrimp is packed with natural citric acid as well as water and salt.
22. Why do I occasionally see a brownish coloring on one side when I open a can of tuna?
This brownish coloring is the result of not cooking our fish in a can of liquid. The natural fat and juices that cook out during our once-cooked process are not enough to surround all sides of the fish thereby producing an almost caramelized effect. This produces a far superior taste as compared to boiling it in a can of oil or water.
23. Why are Wild Planet sardines so solid as compared to other brands?
When a fish is really fresh and brought down quickly in temperature it has a firmness and density that is uncommon in most fisheries. They hold up very well during the cooking process in the can resulting in a fish that remains whole and intact. Some people find our sardines to be drier as their firmness prevents them from soaking up the liquids they are packed in. Simply break up the fish a bit to absorb the oil or sauce if you prefer a moister meat texture.
24. What is Wild Planet doing to address the concerns about the possibility of radiation exposure to tuna and sardines as a result of the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the subsequent damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant?
Our president and founder, Bill Carvalho, has written an informative document regarding radiation in Wild Planet products. Please see this link for a pdf of this document: Wild Planet Radiation Statement.
Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: Radiation in Wild Planet Seafood.
25. What is Wild Planet’s position on Marine Reserves?
Marine reserves or protected areas with either limited or prohibited fishing are generally accepted as effective conservation measures. Wild Planet Foods supports the creation and enforcement of marine reserves. Read more at: Wild-Planet-Position-Statement-on-Marine-Reserves.
26. Why isn’t Wild Planet MSC-certified?
Wild Planet has elected to not use the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as a certifying agency. Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: MSC Certification.
27. Does Wild Planet use packaging containing BPA?
Most of Wild Planet’s products are packed in cans that do not have the intentional addition of BPA (excluding our Shrimp and the lids of our glass-jarred Tuna Fillets). Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: BPA (Bisphenol A).
28. Can Wild Planet comment on the toxic algae bloom and how it may or may not be impacting Wild Planet products?
Our president and founder, Bill Carvalho, has provided a full statement addressing the current condition of elevated domoic acid in shellfish and to a lesser extent, some fish off the coast of California. Please see this link for a pdf of this statement: Wild Planet: Toxic Algae Bloom Statement.
29. When will Wild Planet transition to the new FDA nutrition panel formats?
We are happy to announce that we already have begun transitioning to the new, easier to read FDA nutrition panels. While we have adjusted the artwork files on all of our U.S. products, it will take time to see many of these in the markets as we still have large inventories of products with the prior style nutritional panels. The highlights of the changes are designed to help customers quickly identify the most commonly referenced items. These changes include bolder, larger print on serving sizes and calories and replacing Vitamin A and C with Vitamin D and Potassium. You can find a complete explanation of changes at the FDA site, Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. If you have any other questions, please use our Contact Us page.
30. If the oceans are being overfished and wrongly fished, wouldn’t it make sense to stop fishing altogether?
Consumers have inquired whether the best practice might be to stop fishing entirely. Please read the Wild Planet perspective on this topic here: The Wild Planet Perspective: Why Responsible Fishing Supports Global Food Security.