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Tuna Vessels in Manta

March 29, 2012

Manta, Ecuador is frequently referred to as the ‘tuna capital of the world’.  The main economic activities there are shipping, fishing, and processing tuna for consumption in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.  And just recently I had a chance to visit the main dock to see some of the tuna vessels.  Here are photos.

Though I’ve worked in fisheries conservation for a while now, I am still today impressed by the size of the vessels.  Above is what’s known as a “super seiner” which fishes on tuna far from the coast and comes complete with its own mini-helicopter.

Of course, there are far bigger vessels, such as this cargo vessel.  It’s really hard to get a sense for how big this vessel is.  Any people walking on the top would appear as tiny specks.

And here is a ‘reefer’ or refrigerated transport vessel that transships tuna catches from vessels at sea.  You can also see just one of the many truckloads that will be needed to unload the vessel.

A closer view of the unloading.

I caught a couple trucks driving by with loads of yellowfin tuna.  (The trucks with the 20′ containers are carrying skip jack.  Hat tip to Andrew S.)

A close up of the yellowfin.

Here’s a medium-sized tuna vessel.  It’s hard to see, but the tan-colored objects on the roof are bamboo sticks.  They are used to construct ‘fish aggregating devices’ aka ‘FADs’.  These FADs are basically floating junk that attract schools of fish and which are outfitted with tracking devices.

Here’s a view of the Manta fishing harbor.  What are you looking at?  Well…

The left box points out vessels used to fish mahimahi.  There is the mother ship and then a bunch of tiny vessels that go out and catch the fish.  These tiny speed boats have be to towed out to sea.  The middle box shows a trawl vessel used to catch shrimp.  And the box on the right shows a small tuna vessel.  The rest of the vessels are some mix of these plus small pelagic vessels with small purse seine nets (the photo isn’t good enough for me to identify them).

Finally, Manta offered some really nice ocean views.  Too bad I didn’t have much time to take them in!

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