July 5, 2013
Dear U.S. Consumer:
It is again the time of the year when U.S. family owned and operated fishing vessels head to sea to catch sustainable, healthful, and local albacore tuna. As they have for the past 100 years, U.S. albacore pole and line fishermen on small boats spend their summers out of sight of land in the blue waters searching for this tasty species. In a normal year the US coastal fleet numbering in the hundreds, based in harbors all along the west coast, catch and land 30-40 million pounds of albacore. Although most still is shipped overseas for canning in Europe, or sashimi in Asia, a growing percentage now is available to the U.S. consumer through retailers, restaurants, fish markets, and directly off the vessels.
Most of the albacore is frozen-at-sea within an hour of catching and held at very cold temperatures until they are marketed, some are chilled and iced immediately and sold as fresh off the vessels. No matter what the method of preservation, if done correctly it results in a very high quality consumer product. Consumers in the U.S. need not be alarmed by the old fresh vs. frozen stereotype of the past in food service. The Japanese for many years have sold their utmost high quality tuna from freezing at sea and superb handling on board boats and most is consumed in very high quality sushi and sashimi markets.
Thus, the U.S. albacore fishing community asks for the consumers help in requesting their product in local stores and outlets. It helps US fish families, processors, and local businesses. It also removes US fishermen from the whim of foreign economic jitters which may affect some prices to fishermen in 2013. The US fishing industry wishes to thank the US consumer for its continued support.
Wayne Heikkila - Executive Director WFOA