Catching / Towing
At the commencement of the fishing season, AFE uses spotter aircraft to locate the SBT in the vast waters off the Great Australian Bight. The fishing fleet is deployed from December to March to catch our SBT quota. The tuna are transferred from the catch net into towing cages and are slowly transported back to Port Lincoln, from where they are transferred into grow-out cages on our ranching sites.
Ranching / Freezing
The ranching process is carefully managed to ensure that the SBT are of premium quality. AFE is proud to consistently produce premium quality SBT each year. This is achieved through a range of proactive fish husbandry practices such as diet formulation, feeding practices, and pontoon design and maintenance. The tuna are fed a diet of high quality and natural baitfish species (fresh and frozen). Most of the baitfish is delivered from AFE’s own local sardine quota and catching fleet. The majority of AFE’s sardine catch is distributed fresh to the tuna in the grow-out cages on a daily basis.
Harvest / Processing
Harvest is performed after approximately 160-200 days of the fish being held in cages and the fish having reached optimal quality in size, condition and fat content. Divers will catch fish by hand and the fish are swiftly and humanely processed using the ‘IKI JIME’ method on board the AFE processing vessel. The tuna are harvested and transferred to an ice slurry in less than one minute ensuring their premium quality is maintained. AFE operates its own on shore processing facility where the harvested fish can be packed fresh/chilled or frozen down to minus 60 degrees.