FISHERY PROFILE

Bay of Biscay Albacore Tuna by Pole & Line

Northeast Atlantic — Bay of Biscay

PRIMARY SPECIES:

Albacore Tuna

FISHERY OPENINGS:

Jul 01 - Sep 30

Pole & Line

Fish harvesters use a pole and line, and live bait to catch Albacore or “white” tuna. Fishing vessels first catch sardines as baitfish inshore with a net and hold them live in tanks. The vessel then travels to tuna-fishing grounds where the live baitfish is scattered into the sea to attract tuna. This is called “chumming.” Vessels also often sprinkle water on the sea surface to create the illusion of schools of baitfish to attract tuna. Fish harvesters then use a pole, lure and barbless hook to catch the feeding tuna.

Harvesting Method

Pole & Line

Pole-and-line fishing is also known as one-by-one fishing because each tuna is individually hooked by a single harvester using a pole and line. Vessels can range in size and have harvesters standing on the deck fishing. Vessel captains spot tuna schools by sea birds or sighting other fishing vessels.

Pole & Line

There are approximately 42 pole-and-line vessels that operate in the MSC-certified fishery in the Bay of Biscay. The vessels stay at sea for a maximum of 15 to 20 days, and store their catch on ice. 

Conservation Measures

This fishery is managed by the Secretaría General de Pesca of Spain under the auspices of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The following measures address conservation into the pole-and-line tuna fishery:

  • Limitation on the number of permitted fishing vessels.
  • Establishment of an annual total allowable catch (TAC)

In this lobster fishing area, fish harvesters actively participate in scientific data collection and research such as:

  • a comprehensive data collection system on catches
  • scientific sampling of lobsters at sea
  • maintaining catch logbooks and scientific field notebooks
FISHERY DETAILS

Northeast Atlantic

MAP
ECO-RATINGS / CERTIFICATIONS

Marine Stewardship Council - Certified

Seafood Watch - Best Choice

Seafood Watch - Best Choice

FISHERY OPENINGS

Jul 01 - Sep 30

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

This fishery is managed by the Secretaría General de Pesca of Spain under the auspices of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

FISH STOCK STATUS

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna conducts stock assessments

Quality and Handling

Fish harvesters catch tuna live and store their fresh catches on ice. When the fresh tuna is landed, it is typically trucked to a cannery where it is immediately processed.

Members

Food Info Albacore Tuna


TASTING NOTES

  • Colour: from light pink to a pale red, turning ivory or creamy white when cooked 
  • Texture: raw fillets are very soft and fall apart easily in large flakes, but firm up on cooking, forming a dense steak.
  • Flavour: a rich, but mild taste thanks to its high fat content
  • Perfect serve: Thanks to quite high fat content, albacore is excellent grilled or barbequed. Alternate large chunks of fresh tuna with vegetables on a kebab stick.
HOW TO CHOOSE A QUALITY ALBACORE TUNA