fishing

The Secret Behind Our Sustainably Delicious Tuna

You may have noticed the succulent, meaty tuna that we serve on our Marrakesh Salad and our Mediterranean Tuna sandwich. While it does come out of a can, that’s where the resemblance to standard tuna ends. These tuna feed on anchovies and sardines so they are high in fat, which equals flavor and juiciness. Our tuna goes into the can raw where it cooks in its own natural juices. Nothing is added, not even salt, so that all the beneficial natural fish oils remain in the can.

This tuna is caught by members of five traditional Portuguese fishing families, who together created American Tuna, an artisanal company that operates the only MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified albacore pole and line tuna fishery in the US North Pacific. The fish are captured one at a time using nothing more than bait, pole and troll. With zero by-catch and zero impact on the environment, marine life, the ocean floor, the reef, or mammals like turtles, this fishery is entirely sustainable.

Because these younger albacore swim near the surface, they are significantly lower in mercury than older larger tuna caught by industrial processors using purse seines or longlines as much 30 miles in length, where they often die on the hook. Ninety-five percent of American Tuna’s catch is exported to Spain, where they often end up in those pretty glass jars that sometimes end up back in the U.S. as “imported tuna.” These fish are live until they’re brought on deck and each individual fish can be traced back to the vessel—a requirement for sale within the European Union. Lucky for us at Baba Olga’s, our chef manager, Aliza Green, met the producers while writing her book, The Fishmonger’s Apprentice. It’s tuna that you can feel good about eating!