The diversification of the fishing methods
We carefully assess various factors including, for example, the environmental impact generated by the fuels consumed for each ton fished, the risk of bycatch of other marine species, the working conditions of fishermen, the safe sanitation and food hygiene and the marketing of an affordable, high-quality product.
A fishing method involving the use of large fishing vessels, capable of staying at sea for several weeks. Once a tuna school has been sighted, a small boat, known as a skiff, with a large nylon net attached, is lowered into the sea. The fishing boat makes a circular manoeuvre to join the two ends of the net and draws it tight at the bottom to form a purse, referred to as a seiner. The tuna caught are frozen immediately in refrigerators situated below deck. Purse Seine vessels fish either by spotting free schools of tuna (FAD free) or by utilizing FADs (Fishing Aggregating Devices).
The entire operation takes place on a single vessel, guaranteeing improved traceability and hygiene, preventing sanitation risks for the catch, and assuring better working conditions for the fishermen. Compared to other fishing methods, it also guarantees a lower incidence of fuel consumption per ton of fish caught.
Although the incidence of bycatch is lower compared to other fishing methods, on average it represents 5% of the total caught, approximately 80% of which are not at risk of extinction (Source: ISSF).
Purse seine vessels fish either by spotting free-swimming schools or by utilizing FADs (Fishing Aggregating Devices)
On the one hand, the use of FADs encourages the aggregation of tuna underneath them thus increasing the catch per effort of unit with a lower fuel consumption. On the other, it involves an increased rate of bycatch of other species.
The alternative method of fishing on free-swimming schools drastically reduces the risk of bycatch, while simultaneously increasing the fuel consumption because skippers have to spend more time at sea looking for tuna schools.
Pole & Line
A traditional fishing method practiced just a short distance from the coastline. The fishermen throw small bait into the water to attract the tuna; with the help of water sprayed with pressure hoses, small swirls that disorientate the fish are created. When the tuna are in a feeding frenzy, the fishermen use their poles with lines and special hooks to bait them. Once hooked, the tuna are hauled onboard and are rapidly preserved in ice or frozen.
Pole & Line can be practiced by spotting free-swimming schools or by utilizing FADs (Fishing Aggregating Devices).
The risk of bycatch is reduced to a minimum, because the fish are caught one by one.
Use of live bait like sardines and other small local fish involves the risk of impacts on their stocks if not correctly handled. Given the reduced number of fish caught, vessels tend to consume more fuel per ton of fish caught. Lastly, this method is physically harder for the fishermen involved.