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An increase in bluefin tuna recovered for the tables of people in need in Sicily

 08-06-2021

The Re-fished project of Banco Alimentare continues.

On 3 June 2021, a fish seizure was carried out by Guardia di Finanza of Catania during a service of protection of the fish patrimony of contrast to poaching. This allowed Banco Alimentare of Sicily to allocate 19 specimens of bluefin tuna (Thynnus thynnus) and 1 swordfish to charitable structures in eastern Sicily.

Several actors have been involved in order to recover 3,450 kg of fish in compliance with the hygienic-sanitary regulations. First of all, the veterinarians of the Asp of Catania have certified the good quality of the fish. The MAAS (Mercati Agroalimentari Sicilia) of Catania stored the fish in the refrigerators for the following treatments; the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia "A. Mirri" I.Z.S. of Sicily - Territorial Area of Catania - certified the absence of histamine and only at this point came the declaration of suitability for human consumption. Since September 2002, thanks to the Banco Alimentare’s project "Re-fished: from the illegal market to the solidarity market" support by Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, it is possible to process, portion and distribute to charitable organisations affiliated with the Banco Alimentare of Sicily portions of fish (more details at this link).

The period between September and today has allowed Banco Alimentare of Sicily to verify the feasibility of this process, to know the costs and the critical elements. The Banco Alimentare of Sicily has begun to structure the process of recovery of large fish, since this fish species migrate for reproductive reasons in this season of the year, is fished in large quantities and this can become the object of seizure. For this process, Banco Alimentare of Sicily has to involve specialized companies in the sector. There are two fundamental directions: a first direction concerns the need to extend the shelf-life of fish through a process of culling. This will require ongoing training for charitable organisations on cold chain management. A second direction concerns the need to establish local protocols with the various parties involved in order to better respond to the needs of each charitable organisation.

We conclude with a few words from the Educare Oggi Association of Belpasso (Catania) which distributed the fish recovered by Banco Alimentare to families in need.

"It was a new day compared to the usual. It was the 'first' time we received fresh fish. Thank you to Banco Alimentare on behalf of the families we support."

Moreover, it’s worth to mention that the families who received the donated fish, in addition to thanking Banco Alimentare reported their favourite recipes to cook with the fish received.

Structuring this recovery process will allow Banco Alimentare to facilitate access to healthy, nutritious and sustainable food for more people in need. In 2021, Banco Alimentare of Sicily recovered over 10,000 kg of fish, 80% of which was bluefin tuna.

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