Our tuna is caught by poleline vessels operating in the crystal clear blue Atlantic Ocean off the South West African seaboard.
Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
We contract two types of vessels. Our sea frozen vessels hold between 40 and 90 tonnes with a blast freezer on board, freezing to a minimum core temperature of -20°C. They are able to operate at sea for up to 1 month and land their catches in Cape Town, South Africa, or in Luderitz, Namibia. Meanwhile, our ice vessels stay out for a maximum of 7 days and deliver the fish to our contracted freezing facilities in the Cape Town harbour.
The industry is in the process of becoming a member of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Most of our vessels are members of the South African Tuna Association (SATA) who is in charge of the Fishery Improvement Project (FIP). Visit the SATA website for more information.
The season normally commences at the end of October and closes at the end of May. The Albacore is frozen whole round with an average weight of between 7 and 12 kg.
Tuna is a migratory species and follows the warmer weather and waters. It comes from the South and migrates North, following the summer. Therefore traditionally it is caught in South African waters starting as early as September and peaking in November and December.
We see a drop off in the catches in South Africa from January onwards and some of the bigger vessels usually then follow the tuna North to the Namibian waters where they continue to catch until March and April.
It is not uncommon for the vessels that stay behind in South Africa to continue to catch tuna during the January to June period but to a much lesser extent. Many of these vessels shift their focus to other species such as hake and snoek during these periods.
Albacore catches are also regulated by quotas issued by the ICCAT.
We export only first grade South African and Namibian origin albacore that is catch certificate compliant and NRCS (SABS) and EU approved.