‘Wicked Tuna’ Captain Dave Marciano Explains How He Ensures the Quality of His Catches

by Amy Myers
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When the Wicked Tuna crews set out on another journey on the Atlantic, they’re obviously looking for the biggest bluefin that they can find. But once these anglers bring their catch back to shore for buyer inspection, size comes second to quality. Depending on the color and fat content of the meat, these stars can see upwards of $20 a pound for their catch. But if the fish exhibits any “burn” from sitting on ice, they may only get half that amount.

While, usually, the captains wait until they’ve docked their boats before taking a sample of the fish, one fan noticed that Wicked Tuna star Dave Marciano’s fish always have a chunk missing by the time it reaches the buyer. According to the captain, this is a part of the technique he uses to keep the buyer “honest” when checking the quality of the catch.

“We often check our own fish so we know what we are bringing the buyer. Keeps ‘em honest,” the Wicked Tuna star explained on Twitter.

Aboard the Hard Merchandise, Marciano has seen some great victories and some disappointing failures and knows what separates one from the other. In order to ensure that his crew has a bigger paycheck at the end of the day, he likes to evaluate the fish himself while still on the water.

‘Wicked Tuna’ Stars Use This Trick to Avoid Burnt Fish

Even before taking the sample, Marciano and the other Wicked Tuna captains have to complete several tasks to ensure that their meat doesn’t see any burn. On the water, a big catch like tuna can exhibit the same burn that fans see at the bottom of their freezers. While the crews have to keep the fish fresh until back at shore, placing it directly on ice could ruin their chances at a good price.

In order to preserve the fish without risking burn, the Wicked Tuna stars use green rice paper to wrap the fish before placing it in the icebox. This keeps the fish fresh while also avoiding direct contact with the ice.

This isn’t the only trick tuna fishermen have learned over the years. In order to supply the tenderest fish possible, they also have to ensure that all movement from the fish stops as quickly as possible. This means that they must first bleed the fish in the water before pulling it onboard. Once complete, the Wicked Tuna crews then have to brain spike and degut the catch. Finally, to ensure no post-mortem movements, they place a rod in the spine and wrap the fish in rice paper.

The intricate process certainly takes the crews much longer than just slapping the fish on ice, but every step is worth the effort when they see upwards of $5,000 for a single fish.

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