Albacore tuna fishery, Westport USA

Facts & Figures

Albacore tuna
150-175 fishermen
Westport, Washington (USA)

'I try and explain to people what fishing and being on the water is like, but it is hard to put into words'

Valerie Philips, a third generation fisher(wo)man, is fueled by a passion for sustainable fishing that she's eager to pass on to the next generations: 'The way we as fishermen handle fish and care about the future stock gives me hope that I can share this way of life with my daughter and maybe one day grandkids.' While life at sea can be lonely, Valerie values the close-knit nature of fishing communities along the west coast: 'The connections you make in each port become your seasonal neighbors to be seen year after year.' 

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Fishing method

Valerie and her crew use pole and line for fishing. Before they start, they tie a rope around their waists and tie it to the boat, to avoid slipping overboard if the fish pulls too hard.

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When fishermen spot a school of tuna, they throw small live fish overboard to attract their attention. The advantage of this traditional method is that fishermen only catch tuna: there is no by-catch and no damage to nature.

Westport (USA)

The landscape of the Pacific Northwest coast is characterized by lush evergreen forests that cascade down to meet the rocky shores and sandy beaches. The waters of the Pacific Ocean are often dotted with fishing vessels, reflecting the town's strong connection to the sea. Here albacore tuna is abundant. However, weather, wind and water influence fishing, and local fishermen search the waters for schools of tuna. The season typically runs between July and October. The fish follow the warm currents that run the coastline anywhere from 20 to 100 miles offshore.

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Tuna fisherwoman Valerie Philips is part of the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA), a non-profit organization of American fisher(wo)men who have been fighting for sustainable tuna fishing for many years. In 2007, AAFA was the first sustainable tuna fishing association in the world to be awarded with the MSC certification. This award is reflected in the traditional way Valerie and her crew fish, with a simple pole and line, one fish at a time.

Nestled along the rugged coastline of the Pacific

Westport, Washington, is a picturesque fishing town. Its fishery scene is characterized by its bustling harbor, where a fleet of fishing vessels ranging from commercial trawlers to smaller, family-owned boats set out to sea each day. Westport's economy revolves around the riches of the Pacific Ocean: from salmon and halibut to cod, crab and of course tuna.

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Albacore tuna

The albacore- or white tuna - is, you guessed it, much lighter in color than the rest of its family. This fish doesn’t get really big, but it makes up for it in nutritional value: because the albacore tuna only eats sardines and anchovies, it’s packed with omega 3 fatty acids. A true guilt-free treat.