The Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Maccoyii)
The worlds most luxurious fish, lives in the open ocean staying in the upper layer of the sea where it is warmer due to the sun and air warming the water. Quite astonishingly the Southern Blue Fin Tuna can accelerate at twice the speed of a Ferrari and has the ability swim long distances at speeds which are illegal on most urban Australian Roads!
Photo: Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry
Over 98% of the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna harvest comes from tuna ranching operations in South Australia. While Tuna have been commercially fished for almost as long as commercial fishing first began, 1991 saw fisherman move from catch to kill; to harvesting the live fish for fattening and has now developed to be the largest farmed seafood sector in Australia. The Southern Bluefin Tuna are located by the fisherman when the fish are undertaking their annual migration through the Southern Ocean between December and March. Then a large wall of netting is deployed around the entire school of fish. Next the fish are transferred through underwater panels between nets to specialised tow pontoons. The fish are then towed back to farm areas adjacent to Port Lincoln at a rate of about one knot; the process can take several weeks!
Photo: Sarin Marine Farm
Once the Tuna are back in their farm pontoons, they are then fed bait fish six days per week, twice daily and are 'grown out' for three to nine months. Their delicate skin can be easily damaged if touched by human hands and too much handling can be fatal. Harvesting of the fish includes the use of specialised divers and the Ike Jime method of brain spiking and gill bleeding the fish to produce the highest quality flesh. A large percentage of the harvested fish are cryogenically super frozen at -60c, preserving the culinary integrity and quality without any detrimental effect on the flavour or texture of the flesh. The quota is highly guarded not only by the Government Fisheries management agencies, but also by the fisherman who own the valuable right to catch the fish.
Photo: Eyre Peninsula- Australia's Seafood Frontier
Information: The SEAFOOD of the Eyre Peninsula- Australia's Seafood Frontier Book