The annual catch of the commercial species is 5,4 mln ton.
The tuna consumption is:
The production of tuna in cans started in 1904 because the catches of sardines – in California – for canning went drastically down. Tuna was used to keep the canneries open by running a new product, The start was with Albacore Tuna, which gets a delicate white colour and an excellent taste once steamed. After depletion of the Albacore Tuna stocks, the canners switched to Yellowfin. In the early ’50s, The USA was the largest tuna producer and responsible for at least one-third of the global tuna consumption.
Canned tuna has obvious a longer shelf life than fresh, frozen or dried salted tuna. Consumers find it easy to prepare, very nutritious, long shelflife and they can choose not only different kind of tuna but also marinated or with sauce. Nowadays, it is a commodity for retailers, with only a few brands left.
Because for sashimi and sushi raw material is used, the tuna must be of very high quality and needs to be ultra-frozen (-60°C) to be well preserved. The best quality is coming from longliners, but sometimes you see that also high-quality tuna comes from a limited number of purse seiners.
Especially in Asia, they require high-quality tuna, ultra-frozen Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna. Europe and the USA accept lesser quality tuna from tuna purse seiners frozen @ -40°C.
Sashimi served raw, from either fresh or ultra-frozen tuna. The serving contains net to the sashimi, soya sauce, seaweed, wasabi and a few pieces of (pickled) vegetables.
Increasing popular part of the restaurant dish is tuna steaks. The frozen tuna steaks are mainly coming from the fattier Yellowfin Tuna, but also Skipjack is a good alternative.
Grilling and BBQs are the most favourite preparation methods for tuna steaks, especially popular in the more sunny states and countries. The demand is growing as it is also a cheaper alternative for Swordfish.
Factories are receiving whole frozen tuna from the tuna purse seiners in reefer vessels or containers. They wash the tuna, remove the fins and the head. With saws, they cut the tuna in the required portions. The final product goes vacuum packed and frozen to the retailers.
The estimated volume of the market for frozen tuna steaks 180.000 tons.
This part of the market is difficult to estimate. The local fishermen don’t declare their catches, nor do they declare their sales for taxes. All tuna which is not needed to feed the family, they sell locally or to fishmongers.