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Seafood lovers will want to discover Westport, Washington, just a few hours southwest of Seattle. This small harbor town, located on the edge of the Pacific Coast, offers excellent recreation, lodging, dining, and charter fishing experiences for visitors. But did you know it's also the West Coast's commercial fishing hub?
Daily, fishermen land their harvest shoreside and place millions of pounds of seafood into local, domestic, and global markets. While this bounty is sought around the globe, it is available locally to consumers who visit Westport, WA, where seasonally, fishermen sell their catch from the docks. They offer minimally handled, fresh, authentically-sourced seafood from Westport's working waterfront. Tuna, Crab, Halibut, and Salmon are seasonally available from fishermen off their boats but are always available at nearby seafood markets.
Albacore tuna is one of Westport's most sought-after fish hitting the docks, yet, many don't know much about it. For decades, tuna has ranked as a top 5 seafood for consumers. A significant portion of the North Pacific albacore tuna fleet delivers their catch right here in Westport! The US albacore fishery produces the highest quality and most sustainably managed albacore tuna in the world. Give your tastebuds an experience and purchase fresh tuna from Westport's local fishermen. You can feel good knowing that the tuna landed in Westport is 100% Pole & Line caught and is considered a "Best Choice" for consumers.
Why Choose Albacore Tuna?
Albacore is more than small chunks of pre-cooked, canned seafood you find in your grocery store. Albacore tuna is a sustainable fishery that is delicious - fresh, frozen or canned. It is high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids and naturally low in sodium. Fresh tuna beautifully takes on the seasonings you give it and is delicious when prepared as the whole baked loin in the oven, pan-seared, over the fire, or on the BBQ. Purchase frozen, canned, or home-can Albacore so you can enjoy it throughout the year. Buying tuna from small local fishers and markets helps support sustainable fishing and local fishing families.
Fresh vs. Fresh-Frozen
Nobody can argue that 'fresh is best,' so most consumers prefer to buy fresh-bled tuna on ice for their main course and canning. However, that does not mean frozen tuna is not fresh. Fresh-frozen quality is just as good as fresh-bled/iced Tuna. Boats equipped with blast freezer systems can land the tuna and freeze it almost instantly, preserving that fresh quality the consumer desires. Blast freezing is done in under an hour when your typical freezer system can take 6 hours or longer to freeze the product thoroughly, and in that time, it can lose some of its fresh quality.
Albacore Tuna Season
Albacore tuna season typically runs between early-mid July to the beginning of October. Albacores follow the warm currents that run the coastline anywhere from 20-100+ miles offshore.
Albacore tuna is caught by fishers using the long-line method. There are two tall poles attached to the port and starboard sides of the boat, with several lines strung through them. Poles are lowered on each side of the boat, and the lines (with hooks) go out into the water. Once hooked, tuna is hand-pulled into the boat. Tuna can swim upwards of 45 mph, so anglers have to move quickly when they hit the line!
Westport's Fresh Catch
Tuna can be purchased in Westport at local seafood markets, fresh, frozen, or canned. Availability will vary from season to season. It's also possible to buy tuna directly from the fishermen. However, to ensure availability, especially in large quantities, it is best to reserve your fish in advance. Fishermen selling off their boat will typically sell the whole fish, which you can fillet yourself or pay a fillet fee to have it done for you. After the fish is filleted, you can expect about a 50% meat yield. Tuna have loins (four solid pieces of meat), whereas most other fish have fillets (two fillets of meat, one from each side of the fish). If the fish is 20 lbs, you should have around 10 lbs of loins.
There are two main ways to buy Tuna.
1. Consumers can buy whole fish directly from the fishers selling from their boats. However, most have established customers with waiting lists, so it's best to reach out before the season gets underway.
2. You can purchase tuna from one of the local markets, Seafood Connection, Brady's, or Merinos, who sell whole fish or by the loin/pound. These markets also sell canned, Westport landed Albacore Tuna