Bill Carvalho’s family eats over 300 cans of tuna a year. Not only because he loves Wild Planet tuna, but because he is so committed to the quality of his products that in addition to all the quality and safety tests normally run on seafood, he taste tests every batch himself.
A passion and respect for the sea comes naturally to Bill. His Portuguese ancestors emigrated from a fishing village in the Azores to America to work in the whaling industry in Trinidad, California. “My dad took me smelt fishing on the coast every weekend when I was a kid,” Bill fondly recalls.
Decades later, as Bill walked on the beach with his wife and children, a chance meeting with a fisherman friend of his father's brought him full circle. Now, thirteen years later, Wild Planet produces gourmet seafood.
Bill explains the research behind his tuna products: “Studies done by Oregon State University demonstrated that albacore caught in the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest have lower levels of mercury than the older and larger albacore harvested by industrial scale fishing companies and used in FDA tests, and that the smaller three-year-olds have even less mercury. These tests also revealed that the younger albacore have higher levels of heart-healthy fish oils, including omega-3 fatty acids.” Armed with this information and a new vision, Bill set out to create something special.
Canned tuna is usually baked, so it can be machine packed; this eliminates most of the natural juices and healthful oils. Wild Planet's choice, center-cut loins of tuna are hand-packed raw at a micro-cannery, and the cans are sealed before cooking. No additives are needed, because all the wonderful natural juices and oils are sealed in, as well as the straight-from-the-sea flavor. As an added bonus, the omega-3 fatty acid content of raw-packed albacore (cooked following canning) is four times higher than precooked albacore. The result is lower in mercury, higher in nutrients and brimming with flavor.
What’s the next part of Bill’s dream? “We’re working on a fisheries educational center in Eureka to help consumers understand responsible marine stewardship and encourage them to support sustainable methods of harvest. I believe wholeheartedly that we can both use and protect the ecological integrity of our oceans and their resources.”