These families represent generations of fishing for albacore with the "pole & line" method. Our fishing families have been selling their albacore through buyers and processors. The majority of our fish is exported to Spain. The Spanish enjoy the smaller fatty (high fish oil) albacore tuna. Unfortunately, the American consumer rarely had the opportunity to enjoy our albacore. As a group, we formed "American Tuna", did our homework and sent a sample to Whole Foods Market in La Jolla, CA. and Whole Foods Market in San Diego (Hillcrest). Whole Foods in La Jolla was our first store. As American Tuna grew in popularity we continued conducting consistent demos and educating the consumer on the difference of our product, the taste and quality, the high levels of Omega III, low mercury levels, no fillers, no broth, or water added, "once cooked" in its own natural juices and much more.
Currently, we are nationwide with Whole Foods Markets, mail order with Heritage Foods USA, in Jimbo’s Naturally in 3 locations (San Diego, CA), in Holiday Quality Foods in 5 locations (Northern CA), in numerous small markets and seafood markets, and our 4lb can is in an ever-growing number of restaurants and deli’s. We are always looking to cater to smaller natural and organic stores as well.
Since American Tuna’s inception we have found that our in-store demos are a great way of building brand awareness, and that many of our consumers are excited to learn about our unique fishery (see the video on the home pg). We have gained a large following since we are noted for our clean and sustainable fishery. Very recently the American Albacore Fishing Association achieved their five-year goal by becoming the only MSC Certified Sustainable Commercial Tuna Fishery in the world!
American Tuna’s six fishing families are members of the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA). AAFA is the client for the MSC(Marine Stewardship Council) certification. AAFA represents U.S. Pole & Troll Albacore Fishing Vessels. American Tuna’s families are some of the founders of AAFA. Our families felt that the Pole & Troll Albacore Fisherman needed a voice to tell their incredible story, the story of their heritage, sustainable fishing method, and families. By pursuing the MSC certification, our fishery would finally be recognized, world wide, as a sustainable tuna fishery. We are the first and only tuna fishery to be certified by MSC. Now our story is being told around the world and consumers can ask for pole & troll caught albacore. Every can/package/loin of albacore displaying the MSC eco-label can be traced back to the vessel that harvested it. American Tuna only supports fisherman using the Pole & Troll method and only processes albacore caught by AAFA vessels. This ensures our traceability and chain of custody will stay in tact, and gives our customers the ability to know exactly where there tuna came from, to know that the tuna they are eating are Small and Mercury Safe, and to know that the ocean is being protected.
American Tuna has also had the opportunity to tell our story through Whole Foods Markets. Whole Foods Market was the first retailer to listen to our story, embrace our fishery and carry us on every shelf throughout the Nation. We want to thank Whole Foods Markets Team Leaders and Team Members for their continued support of American Tuna and the pole & troll albacore fishery. Also, the simple fact that our albacore is caught, canned and distributed by American fishermen, which is hard to find on the shelves in the markets today, and is attractive to many consumers.
Finally, the public is so interested and excited that six local commercial albacore fishing families (many 2nd and 3rd generation fishermen) have joined together to create this wonderful product with so much history behind each family in the Tuna community of San Diego. Two of the vessels in American Tuna are each owned separately by a father and son. One owner and fisherman is Paul Hawkins, a 2nd generation albacore fisherman. Another is Scott Hawkins, the Son and 3rd generation commercial Albacore fisherman. His grandfather was a 1st generation tuna fisherman and was lost at Sea, his name resides on the Tuna memorial on Shelter Island, San Diego. There is so much history among the owner’s of American Tuna we are a truly unique company.
San Diego, once the "Tuna capital of the World" has these few Albacore fishermen still living and breathing this Hundred-year old tradition of "pole and line" caught Albacore. Thank you for your time, we hope you’ve enjoyed and learned a little about our American Tuna family.
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