Best season in 20 years

THE 2014 tuna season is set to be the strongest in more than 20 years, according to Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess.

Mr Jeffriess said the 2014 tuna catching season is probably the best catch rate and fish quality since the early 1990s.

"It's due to the strong recovery of tuna stocks, which has become most obvious since 2009," Mr Jeffriess said.

"There are now so many tuna throughout the Great Australian Bight that the industry is able to select the best quality, and fish the areas closest to Port Lincoln."

He said because fishers had been catching earlier, the industry could switch between fresh and frozen markets, and also sell over a longer period of the year.

"The problem remains that the Japanese market is weak and the Australian dollar is still very strong against the Japanese Yen.

"The only answers to this are to maximise quality, get greater marketing flexibility in Japan, and to increase volume to other markets."

Mr Jeffriess said a Free Trade Agreement with Korea starting in mid-2014 would allow the tuna market there to gain further momentum, leading to increased consumption. He said he hoped similar trade agreements with China and Japan would follow.

The 2014 tuna season is set to be the strongest in more than 20 years.

The 2014 tuna season is set to be the strongest in more than 20 years.