In March, seafood supplier Culimer B.V. announced it will begin carrying circle-hook super-frozen yellowfin tuna.
The tuna is the closest alternative to bluefin tuna, according to the Dutch company. The fish is caught using World Wildlife Fund-supported circle hooks by the Vietnamese longline tuna fishery and stored and processed at ultra-low temperatures, making for a sustainable tuna supply chain, it said.
However, getting Vietnamese fishermen to switch fishing methods proved to be a challenge, because they’re concerned about feeding their families today and not so much about the sustainability of the fish tomorrow, said Culimer.
So, as an incentive, the supplier is paying fishermen a higher price for tuna caught using circle hooks. And on Tuesday Culimer told SeafoodSource that the first boats using the hooks are now out on the water.
“We already have customers interested in it. They are actually waiting for the moment we can supply it,” said Culimer’s Maarten van Geest. “And they say they would like to pay a little more for this product just to support the fishermen to do the right thing and to improve these fisheries.
“I’m sure the WWF and Marine Stewardship Council will look at [the use of the circle hooks] and say ‘this is a good thing to do’ and give some more support to the fishermen as well. It’s difficult, but we will see. It’s a nice thing to do,” added van Geest.