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Pinhais starts prime production period with the start of the sardine fishing season

This year's sardine fishing quota is higher than last year's, with a catch limit set at 37,642 tonnes

Another fishing season has begun for sardines, a noble species much appreciated at the Portuguese table. In this year's campaign national fishermen will be able to catch up to 37,642 tons, more than 8,000 tons than in 2022. The century-old Pinhais, an unavoidable symbol of the national canning industry, plans to absorb around 600 tonnes of sardines, a quota similar to last year's, whose quantity was used in 3.2 million cans of preserves. For the cannery, the reopening of another sardine fishing season is synonymous with celebration and enthusiasm, but also with the beginning of the most anticipated period, marked by great bustle and intense work.

With a very strong connection to the local fishing community, the cannery starts the day very early at the Lota de Matosinhos where it participates in the auction of baskets with 22.5 kg of sardines each. This process is vital to ensure the suitability of Pinhais' products, which are niche products and renowned for their superior quality, as well as for the sustainability of the local fishing community.

Traditional method in all its production

It should be noted that Pinhais is the only cannery in the country that maintains the traditional method throughout its production, which begins with the start of the sardine fishing season, a ritual that has been preserved for over 100 years. The artisanal process, which comprises several fundamental stages, around 40, is elaborate and detailed, requiring almost exclusively manual work, a guarantee for the high quality recognised to the brand's products and the authenticity of its preserves.

After the purchase, the sardines are cut and all the casing is removed to avoid bitterness in the conservation process. This is followed by washing the sardines on the grills to eliminate any impurities that might adulterate the maturing process and cutting the fresh ingredients, such as carrots or chillies. Resisting the temptation to produce more and more quickly, Pinhais keeps the pre-cooking in steam ovens, followed by cooling, canning and sterilisation. Then, the preserves mature for the rest of the year.

The quality of the raw material is fundamental

"Pinhais has always placed its most trusted buyers at the fish auction to buy its most precious asset, the fish. The quality of the raw material is fundamental to guarantee the quality of our preserves. The existence of a fishing quota for this fish guarantees the long-term sustainability of the species", explains João Paulo Teófilo, manager of Pinhais.

For him, the quota stipulated for sardine catches in the 2023 season "is perfectly adequate and balanced.

This is a time when 125 Pinhais employees, most of whom have been with the company for many years, begin an intense work phase, as it is in this period that they produce what the company sells throughout the year.

As this is a noble period of handmade sardine production in Matosinhos, it is also marked by frenzy, enthusiasm and joy among the employees of the century-old cannery, whose history represents unique values and living traditions.


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