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Safeway keeps swimming up sustainable stream

PLEASANTON, Calif. — As the Greenpeace's most sustainable U.S. grocer for seafood, Safeway already has a sterling reputation for providing its customers with a wide variety of responsibly-sourced fish. Now, the company is taking that even further by announcing that its Safeway brand skipjack (chunk-light) canned tuna will be responsibly caught using free-school purse-seine methods. The company will transition to the purse-seine method by the end of the year. Free-school tuna is caught by purse-seiners using traditional methods of spotting schools of fish using radar and sonar, while captains employ powerful binoculars to spot birds attracted by schools of tuna.

Joe Ennen, SVP consumer brands, said the new sourcing policy is an important step in addressing the consumer demand for a more sustainably sourced product without compromising quality.

"We are committed to building a brand portfolio that is innovative and gives consumers what they want. We have always felt that the Safeway brand is the best tasting canned tuna product. Now we're excited to offer that same superior quality from a source that is more sustainable and eco-friendly," Ennen said.

According to Greenpeace, this latest move by Safeway helps keep the grocer ahead of the pack. Casson Trenor, senior markets campaigner, said, "Safeway has just galvanized its hold on pole position within the U.S. retail industry in regard to sustainable seafood. Safeway's canned skipjack tuna specifications are progressive, comprehensive, and visionary. They address the dangers of fish-aggregating devices. Greenpeace applauds Safeway for stepping up to the plate and making this powerful and public commitment and looks forward to the company's forthcoming albacore tuna policy."

Safeway said the specifications for its canned tuna will be implemented over the coming year.