Ocean FAD Articles > OFAD Meeting with the Mermaids: say NO to "Chicken of the Sea"

"Chicken of the Sea"
12 Jul 2012


OFAD had its annual meeting on the waterfront this year. We didn't get a chance to put the word out, or the funds to throw a nice party like last year. Our friends come over, from around the dock, to check out our mermaids and have a bite to eat.. Our Mermaids sure get a lot of attention. As we scurry back and forth down the dock, we cant help noticing how lovely they are. We have grown very fond of them and feel honored to have them with us. Somebody asked me if I had ever seen a real mermaid and I answered, "I have seen many unexplainable incidents at Sea, but must honestly say I have never have seen a real mermaid."

To me, the mermaid is a symbol of purity. She is like a Unicorn, or an Angel that want you to "do the right thing", or "Follow your heart towards the light of righteousness". This being the case, a mermaid could be trusted. She would be just and true. This could be as "Mother Mary" to some, "Mother Nature" to others, or your very own MOM at home

We have been a "Mermaid Boat" for a very long time. If anyone was to ask our mermaids, "What's the best Tuna?"

They will always  say, "American Albacore TUNA!!"

Wow, we love our mermaids so much. They think our Albacore Tuna is #1. That's so sweet.

Our Tuna is  caught by members of 


Our Tuna Fishery was the 1st to be MSC certified for Sustainability and bares the "blue label".


 What about "Chicken of the Sea?"

Our heads go down and the feeling of sorrow, pain and betrayal come over us. The truth is:

"Chicken of the Sea" brand, along with "Bumble Bee", and "Starkist", do not support American Albacore Tuna  Fishermen! These US major brands quit buying American caught Albacore years ago.These US brands are now owned by and support Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Taiwan, and Korea.

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) driftnet vessels, that target Albacore Tuna, come from these same Asian countries. The mentality behind the "Chicken of the Sea" brand has changed. It is no longer the question of "What's the best Tuna", but rather "What's the cheapest Tuna." The word "Sustainable" is never used. Its all about "The money".

We have lost many Ocean Friends to "Chicken of the Sea" brand.     


 The phrase, "Chicken of the Sea"' came from the American Albacore fishermen. It was a phrase fishermen used to distinguish Albacore Tuna from other Tunas like Skipjack Tuna or Yellowfin Tuna. The Albacore Tuna is the only "white meat" in the Tuna family. Because chicken also has white meat, the saying stuck. When a fisherman came to port to sell his catch, he would be asked, "What do you have?" He would answer "Chicken of the Sea". Albacore also has a very light fish taste, compared to other tunas. For whatever reason, Albacore became America's favorite Tuna. It was so popular, somebody decided to put the phrase on a label and "Chicken of the Sea" brand name was born.

The main owner of "Chicken of the Sea" brand was an American Captain named Edmond Gann. Cptn. Gann also owned and operated a number of  large purse seine fishing vessels. These vessels supplied a large portion of Tuna to be canned by "Chicken of the Sea", but none of which was Albacore Tuna (Chicken of the Sea).


Albacore tuna, apart from being "White Meat", has a unique feature. It has a very long pectoral fin. This "long fin" gives the Albacore Tuna the ability to dive, or sound, as fast as it can swim sideways. This makes it very difficult to catch Albacore using the purse seine method. Albacore is the only tuna that is not targeted by purse seiners for this reason alone.

In early days, Albacore Tuna was mainly harvested by American Troll and Pole and Line boats. At this time, Chicken of the Sea was truly, "The best Tuna". As the demand grew much faster then the supply, the price per can of Albacore was 2-3 times higher than the cost of other canned tuna. To make more supply, owner Gann turned to Asian Long line vessels and Driftnet vessels that target Albacore.

In the year 2000, Edmond Gann sold his share of "Chicken Of the Sea" to Thai Union. Thai Union, not interested in American Albacore Trollers, threatened to kill them with their High Seas driftnet fleet.

By the year 2006, the American High Seas Albacore Troll Fleet was gone.

The “Chicken of the Sea” phrase is also used by fishermen to describe a “coward”, or “fair weather fishermen”, or someone who just doesn’t understand the motion of the Ocean.

If you get sea-sick, you may be bullied into being a “Chicken of the Sea”.

If you are always waiting for the weather to get better before you sail, you might be a “Chicken of the Sea”.

If you are out on the Ocean and thinking about returning to port just as the weather starts to change for the worse, you could be a “Chicken of the Sea”.
If you are of doubt, on the Ocean, you’re a “Chicken of the Sea”.
A “Chicken of the Sea” will not last long on the Ocean. It is commonly known, on the waterfront, that  there are NO “Chickens of the Sea“. It’s not allowed. You must be brave to go to sea...

One must 1st understand that there are “golden rules” that all mariners, seamen, sailors, surfers, and fishermen learn to follow.

“No matter how big your vessel, or boat is, the Ocean is always bigger!” 
Keeping this well in mind, a seafarer will totally submit to the Sea before even leaving port. In order to live on the Ocean, you must be prepared to give up one’s self in this world. This goes in the order of God-Ocean-Boat-Captain-Crew.
A good seaman will follow orders to the letter as there is no place for doubt, double talk or time for hesitation. All hands on deck must Pay Attention!!! Lives and the safety of the vessel depend on it.
Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and this has nothing to do with being a “Chicken of the Sea”. It may be wise to be a chicken. You never know.
Fishermen learn to never underestimate the Sea and to show great respect and awareness to the Ocean and Her conditions.
Never Panic is another "golden rule". Simply "going with the flow", or "moving with the tide" enables fishermen to think before reacting, or to consider all things as to an alternative to the situation.
Never leave your running partner, or "no man left behind" is a “golden rule”.
As safety is in numbers, fishermen try to work in groups, or units. All vessels in the group will aid and assist one another in every aspect. From finding and harvesting fish, to standing by for each other in gale force winds. A smart fishermen will never sail alone.
Many of these "golden rules" are taught to our military, police forces, firemen, and other occupations that put their lives in harms way on a daily bases.
It is no wonder that most fishermen, in the past, were made up of  humble war veterans and civil servants coming from the navy, coast guard, marines, and even the fire department. These fishermen, having experienced life and death incidents in the past, could carry on supporting themselves without having to deal directly with a society that does not live by, nor understand these golden rules”or otherwise known as, “Codes of Conduct”.
This society that does not have "golden rules", or live by the "Codes of Conduct" on the Ocean is called “Chicken of the Sea”.
Unwilling to uphold maritime law is lawlessness. The countries that do not sign the Law of the Sea are “Chickens of the Sea”. These Countries show no honor or respect for our Oceans, others and themselves.
The biggestChicken of the Sea” is US President Obama because he does not ratify the Law of the Sea. Instead of the US Navy helping to eliminate Illegal fishing coming from other nations who do not follow the Codes of conduct, US Coast Guard is given the difficult task that ends up not being accomplished.
US Congress are “Chickens of the Sea” for not encouraging the President to sign the Law of The Sea, or standing behind the President if he was to uphold The Law of the Sea. These Congressmen and women are afraid to live up to their own policy of protecting their own “existing fisheries”. Instead, US Congress supports seafood coming from foreign nations to compete with their own US fishermen. Not good!
US big money makers, politicians, and prominent figures in our US society, like movie stars, musicians, and athletes, that knowingly support fishing industries coming from countries that do not stand for the Law of the Sea, are real Chickens of the Sea. They set a bad example for the public to follow.
Finally, the public consumer that knowingly purchase seafood products coming from countries that show no regard in conservation to our Oceans are “Chicken of the Sea” people. These people are afraid to pay an extra 25 cents for the cost of sustainability and traceability that is needed to assure that their seafood products come from a reliable source. If you want something cheap, buy real chicken. If a can of “Spam” costs more than a can of “Chicken of the Sea” tuna, there is something wrong with this picture.
USA, do not be a “Chicken of the Sea” person that does not care if our Oceans are being over fished because of our lawlessness.
Please become a “Super-hero of the Sea” by choosing your seafood wisely.
Remember the Code- “With honor and respect”.
Remember this: "There are no “Chickens of the Sea”! Not allowed. Not permitted.
As long as there are “Chickens of the Sea”, our Oceans will continue to die!

Captain John Harder