Tuna fishing takes place in spring, but today, the bluefin tuna is caught faster than it can reproduce and the population of this species has never been so low, a consequence also of the spread of sashimi on Italian tables. Intensive fishing in the seventies and eighties caused serious damage. The various species of bluefin tuna grow at a slow pace and reach reproductive maturity quite late – and are often caught before they have reproduced.
The bottarga is obtained from the craftsmanslike processing of the eggs of the tuna, which are treated with salt from Trapani, pressed to expel the liquid inside and hung to dry until properly aged. The skill of the producer consists in deciding the ideal amount of ageing, and this is determined by the scents emanating from the bottarga.
At Favignana, bottarga processing and tuna fishing have been going on for centuries.