We have seen a massive decline in wild tuna populations around the world, largely due to illegal longliners and trollers, and also because of our insatiable demand for ahi. We need to find alternative, sustainable fish to consume in order to lighten the demand on this fragile species.
I showcase aku (skipjack) for its bold flavor, beautiful, deep red coloration, and roots in Hawai`i’s food culture.
It was kapu (forbidden) for aku and ʻōpelu to be sourced at the same time. Both types of fish were prized and considered near sacred in ancient Hawaiian culture. Aku could only be caught during January through June, and ʻōpelu from July through December.
Japan’s introduction of sampans, a type of wooden-hulled boat, along with their own unique fishing methods, caused a boon to commercial fishing of aku in Hawai`i during the early 1900s.
For this course, Aku is accompanied by `inamona (kukui nut relish), pa`akai, and ʻākulikuli.