A day in the life of tuna
MANILA, Philippines - Renowned for their succulent and delectable taste, the yellowfin tuna that land 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 all begin at the fish port complex before break of day.
A typical tuna day in this city known as the country’s Tuna Capital begins at 5:06 am when the stalls are still empty and activities are just starting aboard the boats that are already anchored at the fishport the night before.
Fishermen begin unloading tuna from the huge ice boxes of their outrigger boats, arranging them in a cart that will bring their catch to the market stalls.
Assessing the quality of the tuna begins when the batch reaches the market stall before they are weighed.
The tuna are then arranged in a stainless table for auction to traders who inspect their appearance and firmness. Once the fishermen agree on a price scheme, traders are then allowed to inspect the quality of the tuna with their tester or 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 weighed again, wrapped in food grade plastic, and placed in a sturdy box with dry ice and sealed.
By 8:54 am, the fresh chilled tuna are loaded to a waiting plane at the airport to be flown to Manila, Japan, and the US.
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