78 The Costco Connection FEBRUARY 2015
By Laura Bode
CANNED TUNA IS something that most of us are
picky about. This pantry basic—an essential for
sandwiches, tuna melts, casseroles, salad topping
and so much more—should have good flavor, yet
not smell or taste too, well, fishy. Many folks enjoy
tuna packed in water, while some prefer it in oil.
There are so many variables that turn a decent can
of tuna into a great can of tuna: Great tuna looks
appetizing, and the meat needs to be firm and
flaky. It should be moist, but not too moist, and
Five years ago, Costco helped to change the
world of tuna for good when its buyers introduced
Kirkland Signature™ Solid White Albacore Superior
Quality Tuna Packed in Water. It has proven to be
a member favorite over the years. Now, after much
research, the same buying group recently hooked
another sustainable fish: skipjack tuna. The new
Kirkland Signature water-packed 100 percent skipjack tuna is sure to please members just as the
Kirkland Signature albacore has.
What is skipjack tuna?
Skipjack tuna (scientific name: Katsuwonus
pelamis) is a medium-size fish and one of seven
commercially important species of tuna in the
world. Found in tropical waters, skipjack can
migrate across an entire ocean basin. It is the most
abundant and fastest-growing type of tuna. At
maturity (one year), skipjack are about 17 inches
long and weigh around 5 pounds.
Skipjack make up almost 60 percent of all tuna
Laura Bode fills this issue’s
consumer reporter slot with this
behind-the-scenes look at a
Costco program. Send your
questions about this article to:
caught globally, says Matt Owens, director of environmental policy and social responsibility at Tri
Marine, a tuna supplier for Costco. Skipjack tuna
mature more quickly than other tuna varieties,
making them more populous and more resilient to
high levels of fishing than most other tuna species,
according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood
seafoodwatch.org), a program that helps
consumers and businesses choose sustainably fished
seafood. Additionally, “because skipjack are so
young at harvest, they have less time to bioaccumu-late [build up] mercury than many other tuna species do,” Owens says.
So how does skipjack compare to light tuna?
Canned chunk light tuna can be a mix of many
tuna species, including skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye,
albacore and even bluefin. Depending on what and
where tuna was caught, and how it was caught,
chunk light varieties might come from fisheries that
are overexploited or with high levels of by-catch—
other fish or marine species caught unintentionally,
such as endangered sharks and sea turtles. Many
producers of chunk light tuna are vague about
exactly which species of tuna are in the cans, because
it’s likely a big mix of fish.
Responsibly caught fish
In comparison, Kirkland Signature Chunk
Light Skipjack Tuna in Water is solely skipjack tuna.
Shauna Lopez, a Costco buyer in the corporate
foods division, explains that Kirkland Signature skip-
joins the Kirkland