Friendship from Under the Sea – Tuna Links Croatia and Japan

Total Croatia News

All images: Miso Mihocevic

What connects Croatia and Japan? One clue, it swims…

Croatia and Japan are celebrating their 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

One major commemoration event happened on the 6th of March, 2018, in the small place of Kali, on Ugljan Island in the Zadar archipelago, in a dull, tourist-less period of the year, otherwise, and so much better for that!

Kali has been known for its long history of mariculture and being a fishermen’s place since ancient times – no exaggeration there. The land was not offering enough, so the sea was the realistic source of food. Hundreds of generations later, these guys, trained on their fathers’ fishing boats from before they even went to school, have acquired an international reputation and a lot of respect.

They say that there is no major fishing place in the world where a person from Kali is not its fishing boss.

Back in the mid 1990’s, a group of them, joining their experiences in tuna fishing and feeding from the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, gathered in their place of origin and founded ”Kali Tuna”, Croatia’s first company of the sort. It didn’t take long before someone noticed – of course, the Japanese picky gourmands, if you talk about tuna fish, sushi and so on.

The result is stunning – the entire annual production of the Kali Tuna has been exported to Japan! Not only because these guys are such experts, but also for the fact that the tuna cultivated in the Adriatic sea is considered a premium product in their country, and, just by the way, tuna accounts for about of 70% of all exports from Croatia to Japan.

H.E. the Japanese ambassador to Croatia Teiji Takigushi said today that, enchanted by so many things Croatia has to offer, they have been working intensively on particular promotion of excellent Croatian wine, olive oil and salt in his country. We had better get ready!

The Japanese are not only partners, but friends that like to give. If you are a chef (or at least a cook), since last January you can attend lectures offered by Japanese masters on how to make ”saku”, ”sushi neta” and ”nakaochi” (there you go!) in Zadar.

Time to enrich our own tables once we have such extraordinary fish material!

A surprisingly wonderful day, despite the pouring rain, with perfect sushi made on the spot, some sake offered in ancient Japanese ”glasses” – in reality just small square wooden boxes without a lid. So we did not learn only about some economy, sushi and how a huge fish is sliced down to minute pieces, but we were also reminded that there were times when glass did not exist.

There is a saying in Dalmatia: ”Dip one finger into the sea and you are connected with the whole world”. So true, indeed.


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