A day in the life of tunaBy Edwin Espejo Sep 14, 2013 7:30PM UTC
Renowned for their succulent and delectable taste, the yellowfin tunas landed in General Santos City make their way to the tables of posh restaurants in less than 24 hours for the discriminating palates of sashimi lovers.
Their journey over land and air begins at the fish port complex before the break of day.
A typical tuna day in this city known as the Philippines’ Tuna Capital begins at 5:06 a.m. when the stalls are still empty and activities are just starting aboard the boats that are already anchored the night before at the fishport.
Fishermen begin unloading the tuna from the huge ice boxes of their outrigger boats and arranging them in a cart that will bring their catch at the market stalls.
Assessing the quality of the tuna begins when the batch reaches the market stall before they are weighed.
They are then arranged on a stainless steel table for auction, and where traders can inspect the appearance and firmness of the tuna. Once the fishermen agree to a price, traders are then allowed to inspect the quality of the tuna with their tester/classifier. The freshest sashimi grade tuna should have reddish brown and translucent meat. The meat textures must also be firm and a little oily when squeezed between fingers.
Once sold, they are de-gilled, degutted – some buyers prefer their tuna already headless and tailless – cleaned thoroughly and inspected for final quality control.
They are then again weighed, wrapped in food grade plastics and placed in a sturdy box with dry ice and sealed. By 8:54 am, the fresh chilled tunas are loaded to a waiting plane at the airport to be flown to the US, Japan and Manila.