I am James, the founder of TUNA KING Ltd.
I am a passionate believer of living life to the full and maximising sustainable enjoyment of what nature has to offer to all of us. This includes food we eat. When it comes to food, some of us eat to live while some of us live to eat. Nature has a constant way of reminding us that we cannot take everything it has to offer for granted and that we have one life and what we do in our short life span will have an impact for us as well as present & future generations. So, my philosophy when it comes to food is to enjoy the best nature has to offer while helping to sustain natural resources for future generations.
Being Raised in a Fishing Village
I was born and grew up in a small fishing village in Sri Lanka, in an environment that was surrounded with natural beauty. Everyone knew everyone else in the village. So, when we wanted to buy food, we knew all the vendors who were selling food to us. This meant that when my mother, for example, bought fish she knew who caught the fish she cooked for us. She knew the fisherman’s family and therefore, he could not bear the shame of selling poor quality fish or seafood that has been treated with substances, artificial additives, “E” numbers, coatings and flavours to prolong shelf life but destroying the natural tastes and goodness,
Life in Britain
When I arrived in England as a young 17 year old, I found a huge contrast in the UK being a highly developed nation in comparison to a tiny fishing village where I grew up in Sri Lanka. Yet, over the years, I grew to love Britain for her welcome, tolerance, fairness & opportunity for all.
In the 70s, I used to go along with my aunt shopping. She knew the high street vendors such as the butcher, the fish monger, the baker, the grocer and other shop keepers. Some vendors would tell us where the food really came from and it was wonderful to see real community pride & spirit.
Gradually, the shopping culture in Britain changed from relying on small shop vendors to visiting mostly out of town large supermarkets. Shopping became standardised and mechanical. Shopping became more convenient and of course convenience food at cut throat prices exploded in supermarkets. Suppliers were forced to cut prices.
The bond between the shopper and the shop keeper was becoming less and less. The true freshness, tastes & natural goodness of certain fresh food has been compromised to maximise shelf life. I had mixed feelings as on one hand, supermarkets offered me convenience and on the hand, the personal touch and care provided by the local grocer, the butcher & the fish monger was lost as they were closed down.
My History in Fishing
In 1990, I started to resurrect an ancient artisan fishery in coastal areas of my birth place in Sri Lanka. I also marketed artisan fishermen’s fresh landings in Japan & Europe. I made sure that fishermen got a fair price that can sustain their families. In return they provided me with high quality fish.
In 1997 one of the UK’s largest supermarkets approached us and asked if we would be willing to introduce our brand of artisan caught fish in to their stores. I agreed supply to them on the basis they promoted artisan boat landings without mixing with fish that are caught by large foreign vessels which are resorting to shark finning, turtle catching and other unsustainable fishing activities.