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White Tuna / Albacore – Canary Islands

C100110, C100117, C100121, C100126, C100130, C100134, C100143, C100202, C100227, C100274, C100285, C100287, C100292, C100469, C100484, C100493, C100500, C100509, c100518, C100519, and C100520

The Product

General Name: White Tuna / Albacore – Canary Islands

Latin Name: THUNNUS ALALUNGA

Alternative names: Albacore, Bonito del Norte, longfin tuna, Thon blanc (FR), thon germon (FR)

 

 

 

 

 


The fishers

Caught by the small island pole and line boats of the Canary Islands with a very variable catch per annum (between 330 tonnnes to almost 5000 tonnes between 2010 and 2018). Local Federación de cofradías are registered and authorised to fish in the Canary Islands . These are groups of fishermen from specific areas or islands who also defend the interests of the artisanal boats, co-operate with the Ministry and University of the Canary Islands on science , exchange and diffuse information and sell the tuna. Boats go out for a maximum of 15 days and fish anywhere between 5 to 500 nautical miles from the islands.

FAO Area: 34. 1.2

Port: Tuna is fished from all Canarian islands but mostly Tenerife, Grand Canaria and Lanzerote

Authority: The Canary Islands, Spain

Seasonal information: White tuna is a highly migratory (and rapid) species which travels from Bermuda in the Atlantic all the way to the Bay of Biscay in Northern Spain. The Canary Islands are at the southern tip of the distribution with 60% of the catch between February and May.


The Method

Pole&Line

Pole-and-line fishing catches skipjack and younger tunas of other species which swim near the surface of the sea. It's the most iconic one-by-one fishing method and basically involves rods just as a recreational fisher would use. Tuna are hooked on lines and either swung on deck (eg Maldives) or un-hooked by hand (eg the Azores). The same fishing vessels will first catch small pelagics to use as baitfish, usually at night. The baitfish are transfered live into water tanks and once the tuna is located they are scattered into the sea to attract tuna. This is called “chumming.” Vessels will sprinkle water at the same time to simulate a feeding frenzy without actually over-feeding the tuna or wasting the bait. There is an art in trying to keep the tuna school located around and underneath the boat so it can be fished for a longer period and pole and line boats will often co-operate when a school of tuna has been found.

The Species

White tuna

Albacore tuna have a life span of 11 to 12 years, but they reach reproductive maturity at around five to six years. At this point, spawning occurs – usually from March to July, but some evidence suggests albacore spawn multiple times a year. During spawning, females produce between 800,000 and 2.6 million eggs, broadcasting them near the sea surface where they are fertilized. The tiny eggs (1 mm in diameter) remain buoyant by an enclosed oil droplet and develop very rapidly after spawning. They hatch within 24 to 48 hours. Juvenile tuna remain in the spawning grounds until their second year when they begin to migrate right across the oceans.

The Location:

The Canary Islands, Spain

Sustainability

Eco-ratings/certifications: Friends of the Sea, Seafood Watch – Best Choice

Resource Management: ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) is one of the world’s big RFMO’s (Regional Fisheries Management Organisations) which manages the tuna resource because tuna is a fish stock which stretches across large areas of the oceans. ICCAT provides science, conducts regular stock assessments, oversees conservation issues and recommends solutions. Participants or signatories are the interested parties i.e. countries with a fishing stake in the resource. The vast majority of the global tuna catch is now caught by the purse seine fleets who catch fish on a massive industrial scale meaning that for any given species of tuna, even those at nominally sustainable stock levels, are and have been fished in volumes far in excess of the levels existing a mere 50 years ago.

Local Management: This fishery is managed by the Secretaría General de Pesca of Spain.

Monitoring & Traceability: The Canary Islands do not have an Observer Program but all boats have VMS, the University science department and fisheyr ministry work closely with the fishermen, all fish caught in Spanish waters are logged and can only be landed in authorised auction houses.

Conservation Measures: In addition to measures which obtain at total stock levels decided by and through ICCAT, the regional resource is managed by the regional Secretaría General de Pesca. This includes limited tuna fishing licenses, an annual total allowable catch (TAC), catch log books

By-catch/discard: Pole and line fishing is a one by one highly targetted surface method of fishing with very little interaction with other marine species.

Endangered Species: No impact.

Eco-system damage: No impact.

How is it made?

The factory is based in Ria de Arousa on the Galician coast between Vigo and Santiago de Compostela with a front directly onto the harbour.

Production: The production supports local fishers and employs local people in the cannery. It’s a family business across generations. Production is well managed, controlled by local authorities for phyto-sanitary and hygiene issues and involved a lot of careful hand-work. Each lott is tracked as to the fish origins and that of any additional ingredient. Fish4Ever only uses certified organic ingredients: this means the factory is controlled and inspected and only natural processes and ingredients are allowed.

Social factors: /

Political factors: /