Our everyday commitment is to select our fishermen who, like us, care about respecting our natural resources and the environment. We process various fish in observance of the season for that species and the minimum catch size while selecting the best fishing methods. We are very attentive to the fishing methods used by our partner fishermen, and we choose those that are most respectful of the species and the sea floors, such as the purse seine method for sardines. For tuna, we refuse to make use of fish aggregating devices because it does not appear to be appropriate in protecting the species.
Because we choose to only use fresh fish, it is during the sardine fishing season – from May to November – that we process this fish at Conserverie la belle-iloise.
A migrating fish, the sardine moves north in the summertime and south in the winter. From May to November, it dwells in the temperate waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Bay of Biscay. This is therefore the time of year that our fishing partners catch it. The great majority of our sardines come from the Bay of Biscany (from Douarnenez to La Turballe); a smaller amount is caught in the English Channel using a purse seine (a net that is gathered on the surface to encircle schools of fish) or trawl (a conical net dragged underwater by one or more boats), methods that do not scrape the sea floor.
Once the sardine is taken from the nets, it is preserved on the boat in vats or tubs of ice. The freshness of the fish is a key asset of its quality, and that is why each morning’s catch is processed within the day.
Still today, our sardines are filleted and tinned by hand according to age-old expertise, the only way to guarantee that their flavour remains intact.
At Conserverie la belle-iloise, the only type of tuna we process is Albacore (Germon) tuna. Smaller and more tender than Listao tuna, this white-fleshed fish is the most suitable for tinning, and it goes particularly well in a great number of recipes.
We care very much about our natural resources and their sustainability, so we purchase line-caught or trawl-caught Albacore (Germon) tuna from our fishing partners. We source approximately 50% of each of these two fishing methods. Albacore (Germon) tuna is a migrating fish that we source according to its itinerary and the time of the year in the North or South Atlantic Ocean, or even in the Pacific Ocean.
Once the fish arrive at the Conserverie, they are hand-filleted to protect their exquisite flavours and then used for a variety of very different preparations: mousse spreads, strips, fillets, and crumbles to be combined with the original flavours of our recipes.
Unlike most other fish, mackerel is caught in the winter from October to March, when it is the most tender and flavourful.
Mackerel is characterised by its migrating activity, which it performs in schools that can be quite large. In the winter, it lives in the deep, cold waters of the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, before it moves on to coastal waters in the springtime, where the temperature is more pleasant and food more plentiful. When it begins to swim southward, our fishing season begins in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean using trawlers.
Our range of recipes brings out the hearty taste of this full-flavoured fish.