Dock Report: Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

As of March of this year, 34 rebuilt and sustainable fish stocks are thriving in American waters. This is evidenced by the return of humpback whales to the waters around New York City, where they’ve been seen “lunge feeding” on ample schools of fish.

bigeye tuna

The number one leading authority in providing science-based, up-to-date and trustworthy information about the status of our nation’s fisheries is NOAA. Over the past 20 years this federal agency has developed an unprecedented model of sustainability — under some of the most restrictive laws imaginable — that is now broadly accepted as having led to the single most successful fisheries rebuilding campaign in history. On the international stage, the United States is now viewed as a beacon of light when measured against any nation working to build healthy fish populations.

Right now, we are experiencing a renaissance as stock after stock of domestic species emerges from depleted status and are restored to abundance. As of March of this year, 34 rebuilt and sustainable fish stocks are thriving in American waters. This is evidenced by the return of humpback whales to the waters around New York City, where they’ve been seen “lunge feeding” on ample schools of fish. With these reliable and promising developments in mind, we are happy to provide you with this quote from NOAA about the status of this week’s featured member share: “The Atlantic bigeye tuna stock is currently being harvested at sustainable levels.”

NOAA adds Atlantic bigeye tuna (aka Ahi tuna) is a “highly migratory species” found around the world, capable of traveling across an entire ocean. Because we do not have jurisdiction over foreign fisheries or the right to take assessments there, we still technically consider Atlantic bigeye tuna stocks to be in the process of rebuilding to target population levels, although they are officially rated sustainable by all measures of stock assessment available in our waters.

From the unanimous perspective of our local fishermen, many off whom are well-known for offering much simpler yet very valuable real-time observations on the status of local fish stocks, the overwhelming consensus on the docks is “Bigeyes are f–king everywhere again this year!”

Know Your Fisherman

Captain Brian FrommCaptain Bryan Fromm aboard a boat he custom built with the help of his brother.

During overnight canyon trips, Captain Bryan Fromm’s huge white bean bag in the background serves as a perfect place to sleep “even when the ocean gets real rough; you don’t roll out of it the way you do from the bunks.”

Below is an excerpt from an article on Dock to Dish by Eileen M. Duffy that appeared in Edible Manhattan magazine.

“I save my best fish for Dock to Dish,” says Captain Fromm, who uses a green stick and follows a strict landing regimen to catch bigeye and yellowfin tuna from his vessel, the Flying Dutchman. The green stick is a fishing rod developed in Japan used expressly for tuna. Rising 40 feet off his deck, Fromm’s green stick uses high-test line to catch one fish at a time thus reducing bycatch and making it easier to bring the fish in. At the end of the line is a plastic squid that skims the water. The motion attracts the fish. Over the years, Fromm has developed a protocol that keeps his catch in its purest state. The tuna is killed and bleeds out while still in the water, which prevents the build up of lactic acid and the toughening effect that bouncing around live in the bottom of boat can have on the flesh. Once in the boat, the fish remains in the same position while it is field dressed and a wire is run through its spine to eliminate any further movement. The cavity is scoured with a wire brush and then the carcass is packed in ice and seawater; it will not move again until Dock to Dish picks it up.”

This season Capt. Fromm has developed a small team of offshore rod-and-reel fishermen, who have agreed to use his strict techniques work together as part of the Dock to Dish Alliance to supply the cooperative with the freshest, highest-quality and most sustainably harvested tunas available, arguably, anywhere in the world.

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Sean Barrett (pictured on right) is a lifelong East End fisherman and restaurateur, who co-founded www.DocktoDish.com, the original community supported fishery on Long Island, headquartered in Montauk. He often cites Quail Hill and Blue Hill as his sources of inspiration.