Tradition and future in one fish

Facts & figures

Albacore tuna
150-175 fishermen
San Diego, California (USA)

San Diego

The coast of sunny southwest USA is packed with albacore tuna fish. However, this is not a given; weather, wind and water determine the catch. The local fishermen search the waters daily for a school of tuna.

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Tuna fisherman Jack Webster is one of the founders of American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA), a fishing organisation for and by American fishermen who’ve been fighting for fair tuna catch for many years. In 2007 the AAFA was the first fair tuna fish organisation in the world to receive the MSC-certificate. This is visible by the traditional way with which Jack and his men fish; with a traditional fishing pole and line. They catch one fish at a time.

Fishing method

Jack and his men fish with a pole and line. Before they get started, they tie a rope around their waist and attach it to the boat, so they won’t go overboard when the fish pull too hard.

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When the fishermen spot a school of tuna, they throw live little fish overboard. This helps to draw the tuna’s attention - and eventually draws in the tuna. The great way about this traditional method is that the fishermen only catch tuna fish. So there’s no bycatch nor damage to nature.

Sunny San Diego

With a population of over 1 million people you can hardly call San Diego a remote fishing spot. But if you ship out to the Pacific Ocean from the harbour, you’ll be far away from life as you know it in no-time. Not only can you find albacore tuna here, but also bluefin-, yellowfin- and bigeye tuna. Actually, not only San Diego is an excellent spot, the entire West Coast has busy harbours. Jack and only one other boat use San Diego as their home port.

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Albacore tuna

The albacore- or white tuna - is, you guessed it, much lighter in colour than the rest of its family. This fish doesn’t get really big, but it makes up for it in nutritional value: because the albacore tuna only eats sardines and anchovies, it’s packed with omega 3 fatty acids. A true guilt-free pleasure.

‘Technological developments are not always good for the environment.’

Jack has been fishing with love for the ocean for over 40 years. ‘I could probably catch more with other methods, but those are not always the best for the environment.’ And the environment is what jack holds highly. Not sick if tuna after 40 years? ‘Not even. I like to eat it straight from the tin!’

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