Slow season doesn’t dampen albacore demand
Despite a slow start to the season, demand for U.S. Northwest-caught tuna albacore was greater than ever this summer.
The increase in demand is partially due to a wider trend of Northwest consumers seeking out locally caught seafood, according to the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA). To meet that demand, Whole Foods in the region expanded its annual sale of the product, with events in Oregon and Washington stores and, for the first time, in British Columbia.
The events were held in conjunction with local commercial fishing groups the WFOA and the Oregon Albacore Commission (OAC). Marketing activities included cooking demonstrations, albacore BBQs and product information. The centerpiece of the summer promotion was a series of “Truck Sales” at select Whole Foods, which gave customers the opportunity to buy whole, fresh albacore and have them filleted by a team of fish cutters.
Whole Foods sold more certified sustainable, U.S. albacore this August and September than in previous years, despite the slow season.
“Over the past four years we’ve seen an uptick in the number of shoppers actively seeking our local fish,” said Wayne Heikkila, WFOA executive director. “People are interested in supporting the local fishing community and they love knowing where, how and who caught their dinner.”