St Helena lies approximately midway between the coasts of Angola to the east and Brazil to the west. The fishery, which catches tuna exclusively in the islands maritime zone, can be dated back to the 16th century. Since then, the fishing methods have remained much the same, only those that catch tuna one at a time, including pole-and-line, handline and rod-and-reel are employed. The one by one methods have ensured that fishers remain connected to the tuna they are catching. Hand over hand, crank after crank, the deep respect that is instilled from catching each tuna this way is passed from father to son, or mentor to apprentice.
St Helena’s tuna fishery is extremely important to the islanders: it generates income, employment and provides a key source of local protein. Most Saints can trace their roots to the fishing sector, demonstrating the centuries-old cultural ties to the sea and their sustainable tuna fishery.