June is a key month for one of Palacio de Oriente’s star products: the albacore tuna. This is when the fishing season for this valued tuna species begins in the Cantabrian Sea, and the Spanish albacore-fishing fleet (including Galician, Asturian, Cantabrian and Basque boats) works hard to supply the ports in the entire Northern Spanish coastline. The fishing-season for albacore provides us with the best resources so that afterwards, from Palacio de Oriente, we can offer you our delicious gourmet canned goods, ready to eat anywhere and at any time. Do you want to know how this adventure starts?
What is the albacore ‘costera’ period?
The ‘costera’ period, or albacore fishing season, is the time when the capture of the Thunnus alalunga species is allowed in the North Atlantic. During this period, the albacore, or white tuna, migrate from the waters near the Azores Islands to the Cantabrian Sea, where the authorized inshore fishing vessels proceed to capture them.
During the ‘costera’ period, albacore is at its optimal stage of maturity. The weight of each animal is somewhere between the following three categories, known as:
- Monos, from 3 to 5 kg.
- Recortados, from 5 to 8 kg.
- Gordos, more than 8 kg.
Trolling and live-bait fishing, distinctive of the Spanish ‘costera’ period
During the white tuna fishing season in the gulf of Biscay, Spanish albacore fishing boats catch this species using live bait, a traditional technique that is extremely selective, given that it is a form of angling that does not interfere with the life cycle of any other species. Fishermen angle with their rods while the ship is moving, in order to catch the attention of the fish, which are caught one by one.
Some vessels choose trolling techniques instead, where the live bait is replaced by colorful lures with striking designs, attached to metallic fishing lines.
Fisheries involved with the albacore ‘costera’ period in the north of Spain do not use bottom trawling techniques, as some French and Irish vessels do, who employ pelagic trawls to capture Thunnus alalunga. The Spanish fleet (and Palacio de Oriente) view sustainable methods as essential to ensure the preservation of our environment, as well as the good health of the albacore schools year after year.
Palacio de Oriente’s white tuna has the Dolphin Safe accreditation as well as a wide range with MSC certification, which guarantee our fish have been captured using sustainable methods, which safeguard the dolphin population.
How long does the albacore fishing season last?
The fishing season for albacore tuna, known as ‘costera’, normally lasts for a four-month period, from June to September. However, there are years when the season is longer, starting in May, and lasting until October. Lately, nevertheless, we have noticed the opposite effect: the campaign is starting to wane at the end of August, when the maximum authorized quota of fish caught near the coast is reached.
What is the outlook for the 2021 albacore fishing season?
The albacore fishing season for 2021 has been forecasted as good for the white tuna-fishing sector. The EU has accepted the increase of the TAC (total allowable catches) for Thunnus alalunga, as recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) through its Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS). This way, the TAC for the 2021 ‘costera’ period is set at 37,801 tonnes for the entire North Atlantic, 12.5% more than last year; the Spanish quota from that total is of 17,704 tonnes. This decision means that the albacore fishing season will be long and profitable for the Cantabrian Sea coast this year. At Palacio de Oriente we are already counting the days before the first pieces of the 2021 campaign start arriving. Soon we will be working to select the most succulent loins for you, and to can them in their delicious covering liquids, like olive oil, virgin extra olive oil, brine or pickled sauce, so that you only need to worry about which one you want and enjoy a happy moment. If you still haven’t tried our range of products, why don’t you start with our white tuna in olive oil, the one in the red tin? A true bestseller!