Bluefin Tuna in Albania – Tuna catch are divided between countries by quotas regulated by the international body ICCAT. Albania has a quota of 170 tons of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) catch in international waters between the coasts of Malta and Africa.
After the capture by saine nets, the bluefin tuna is kept alive and moved slowly towards the south coast of the Albania and allocated into the mariculture cages. During the transfer, the vessel must avoid net pressure from sea currents to reduce fish stress and mortality.
Thunnus thynnus may form giant schools spreading over several nautical miles when migrating into the Mediterranean Sea. The fishing season takes place within a period of one month, from 1st of June to 1st of July – approximately, it takes 15-25 days in Albanian waters, but always depending on seasonal and meteorological conditions. During the fishing period, this vessel will correctly respect all ICCAT regulations and must notify the secretariat for any problem.
The local company which operate in Tuna fishing is ‘’Rozafa shpk’’, which is one of the largest companies in the fishing sector in Albania, with a fleet of 15 vessels licensed for pelagic fishing and bottom trawlers. The company is also involved in fish processing (shrimp, sardine and anchovy).
During the time when the fish are allocated in the fattening cages, the company feed the tunas with small pelagic fish, to increasing their body weight.
After the fattening period, a Japanese ship comes to the Albanian coast, and following a strict process of killing, slaughtering, gutting and deep freezing, the Bluefin Tuna is stocked in special cold room at -85°C.
Each fish is killed one by one with special bullets in the head. As the Japanese company demands the highest product quality. To preserve high quality standard for Bluefin Tuna are required high skills and work with utmost care, considering that even touching the net would create stress and kill the fish, that would not be accepted for purchase by the Japanese ship.
This local business cost about 5 million euro and within four years the investment is estimated to reach 35 million euro. The Albanian turnover will be part of a huge market that in monetary terms reaches $5 billion worldwide. With this investment, Albania aims to become one of the important tuna exporting countries in the Mediterranean, making a great contribution to the country’s economy. Albania‘s goals for the Bluefin Tuna are to increase the quota to 400 tonnes.