A TARIFA fisherman of Scottish descent has brought a sustainable and pioneering new method for catching the region’s famous bluefin tuna.
Juan Carlos Mackintosh, 61, has eschewed the huge nets of the trawler, which scoop up sharks and dolphins and all manner of unwanted by-catch, for something more traditional.
Mackintosh hails from a family with Scottish origins thanks to his great-grandfather John Mackintosh, who sold coal in Gibraltar to British warships during the First World War.
Later settling and investing in land around San Pedro, the family grew strong and is still behind various local restaurants and developments.
Together with son Daniel, Juan Carlos brought the innovative ‘greenstick’ technique to Spain after learning about it from a small fishing village in Japan.
Via this method, they land their catch using single-line hooks and only to order, ensuring there’s no overfishing and minimal harm to the fish.
The JC Mackintosh company, based in Tarifa, has also now adopted the Japanese slaughtering technique known as ‘Ike Jime’ which guarantees to preserve the fish’s quality.
They renamed the entire process the ‘Five Mackintosh steps’ in their Tarifa fishery, emphasising their dedication to following all the steps meticulously.
A key part of the process includes stunning the fish to stop it flapping and suffering, while also ensuring the highest product quality.
The innovative method has faced mockery from rival fishermen, who are wedded to Cadiz’s traditional ‘almadraba’ net fishing, which takes place at six towns on the Costa de la Luz.
The almadraba is an ancient system that dates back to Phoenician times. It involves an intricate maze of nets and enclosures set up along the migratory routes of bluefin tuna.
When the tuna swim through these nets during their annual migration from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, they get trapped.
However, Mackintosh’s courage has paid off; in just six years he has nearly doubled his turnover tenfold and he sells his tuna both in Spain and abroad.