Yellow fin tuna – Dakar Senegal

C100115, C100116, C100118, C100119, C100207, C100230, c100241, C100242, C100245, C100250, C100261, C100262, C100267, C100268, C100286, C100295, C100447, C100452, C100454, C100455, C100461, C100462, C100465, C100477, C100486, C100517, C100522, CON002, CON004, CON011, CON012, CON016, CON019, CON029, CON042, CON047, CON048, CON051, CON055, CON056, and CON063

The Product

General Name: Yellow fin tuna – Dakar Senegal


Alternative names: Albacore (Fr), Rabil (Sp).


The fishers

Dakar-based pole & line fleet currently consists of 15 vessels with an annual catch of around 14,000 mt of tuna employing local fishermen. The boats are owned in equal parts by a Spanish fishing company registered and managed locally and by a Senegalese owned company – each with 7 boats and with 1 boat under French ownership.


Port: Dakar, Senegal

Authority: Senegal Ministry of Fisheries in West Africa

Seasonal information: No seasonal dates identified.

The Method


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

Yellowfin tuna

Yellowfin are a mid-sized tuna species and are distinguished, as their name suggests by their yellow fins. They are bigger than Albacore and skipjack but smaller than the famed bluefin. They are a highly migratory fish that roams all the world’s oceans in tropical and subtropical zones. Yellowfin have a metallic, dark blue back and yellow to silver belly. Their dorsal and anal fins and finlets are bright yellow and they have streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies adapted to fast and continuous swimming. Yellowfin has a mild, meaty flavour and bright red meat that turns brown to grayish-tan when cooked. Yellowfin is often served raw as sashimi and in sushi. Yellowfin grow quick with a life span of only six to seven years. They begin to reproduce when they reach the age of two. The species is very productive, spawning throughout the year in tropical waters with millions of eggs released daily. Females release their eggs near the sea surface where they are fertilized.

The Location:



Eco-ratings/certifications: Friends of the Sea

Resource Management: According to ICCAT and ISSF yellowfin tuna in the Atlantic is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However large quantities of juvenile yellowfin are caught essentially as by-catch (re-defined as a co-target catch) by the Purse Seine fleets which are dominated by long distance foreign fleets accounting for some 3/4 of the Atlantic yellowfin tuna catch. Fish4Ever believes that purse seiners with and without FAD’s have taken, and been granted too large a proportion of the fishing for decades taking fish and resources away from local and more sustainable fishing which would benegit poor coastal states and communities.

Local Management: Senegal

Monitoring & Traceability: There’s VMS aboard vessels, limited number of Senegalese flagged and locally landed boats, catch landed and checked in Dakar prior to freezing for export or processing.

Conservation Measures: ICCAT has a number of measures in place to try to reduce fishing pressure. Senegal’s share of the total fish stock in the ICCAT area is absolutely insignificant. 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. These purse seine flats are generally owned by huge multi-national fishing companies, often under different flag state registration to where they are fishing, and in the case of yellowfin tuna targeting juvenile fish in vast quantities. Pole & line fishing by contract is very selective, always local and because the spawning ground for yellowfin is much further South (opposite Ghana and Ivory Coast) juvenile fish are not targeted.

By-catch/discard: Pole and line fishing is a one by one highly targeted 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 is a family canning 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: No issues. This is a democratic and egalitarian small scale local fishery closely managed by the Canary Island auhtorities. Only pole and line boats fish tuna. No foreign or large industrial pruse seiners are allowed in the Canary Island waters. Local guilds called Cofridias manage the interests of the fishermen to promote the catch, to manage services and to co-operate with the local governance. The factory is a small family owned business based in Galicia with highly regulated (EU) labour standards.

Political factors: No issues