Tuna are an amazing species and unique when compared to other game fish species and fall between October and mid-January and pick up again between April and May. In the course of these seasons, the local market is bombarded with tuna at a giveaway price. Despite the illegal trade of recreationally caught fish, recreational catches will sell between R25/kg to R40/kg per fish, presenting itself as a favourable option to local restaurateurs.
Kurt Hill, Operations Director at Cape Fish located in Paarden Eiland highlighted that some restaurants choose the illegal route rather than supporting those that go above and beyond to operate within the law and produce a high-end product for the consumer. Local annual tuna competitions have been Identified as a key contributor to the problem because recreational anglers and vessel owners enjoy large catches of tuna meanwhile leftover tuna is sold into the market at a reduced price to make a profit, undercutting commercial fisheries. “Tuna is currently featured on the ‘green list’ by the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), making it a sustainable fish choice for seafood lovers. By customers not questioning restaurants on where their tuna comes from, it allows restaurants to buy fish illegally from un-traceable sources, threatening the sustainable status of the fish,” Hill explained.
In an attempt to break the cycle of illegally sold tuna and promote responsible recreational fishing, Cape Fish has joined forces with Recreational Angler, Steve Cameron-Dow. Cameron-Dow’s team managed to catch 17 longfin tuna and 4 yellowfin tuna weighing in at a total of 425kg at a Tuna competition. “It’s time to break the cycle of illegally sold tuna into the market in a way that can benefit the less fortunate communities in which we live. I’m wholeheartedly committed to the pledge in partnership with Cape Fish, and look forward to being able to give away my catches to a good cause,” stated Cameron-Dow.
Cape Fish has taken every fish caught by Cameron-Dow during the competition and processed them into 120kgs of ready to eat portions. Together, the two entities have made a pledge to annually process the catch of all tuna competitions entered into by Cameron-Dow and his team, and giveaway the portions to those Nazareth House for children and the Saartjie Baartmen Centre for abused Women and Children (SBCWC)
Director of SBCWC, Bernadine Bachar, said “The centre is very grateful for the fish received from Cape Fish. We feed up to 120 women and children daily in the centre. High in Omega 3, the tuna enables us to introduce additional nutrients to our meal plan. Wayne Devy, CEO of Nazareth House said “It is truly heartening to see a corporation give with such kindness and compassion. The substantial donation of high-quality fish from Cape Fish and Steve Cameron-Dow will go a long way to provide for the vulnerable in our care. In addition to this, Cape Fish pledges to all recreational and charter fisherman in Cape Town that they will process, pack, freeze and distribute to the above-mentioned centres or a charity of their choice at no cost.