Tuna fished out of sal­mon pen

Fish Farmer - - News -

A 300kg Pa­cific bluefin tuna was hauled out of a sal­mon pen off Colon­say at the end of Oc­to­ber af­ter ‘tor­pe­do­ing’ through the net.

At­lantic bluefin tuna are com­mon in Scot­tish waters, but Pa­cific bluefin tuna are rare as they pre­fer the warmer waters of the north and south Pa­cific oceans.

The Ma­rine Har­vest team at Colon­say used a panel net - nor­mally de­ployed dur­ing har­vest­ing - to cap­ture the 3m long tuna, val­ued at well over £100,000. A 221kg fish fetched £517,000 at Tsuk­iji mar­ket in Tokyo in Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to the Fish Site.

The land­ing craft crane was then used to lift the tuna into a large bas­ket for trans­fer to the open sea where it hap­pily swam away.

Farm man­ager Ali Ged­des said: ‘We’d no­ticed a lot of ac­tiv­ity around the south­ern part of the farm – there seemed to be a real feed­ing frenzy go­ing on with the dol­phins and por­poises.

‘It’s now clear they were chas­ing a tuna. Th­ese things can move at real speed – up to 50 mph – and it seems to have burst through the foot of the pen like a tor­pedo.

‘Thank­fully, the tuna seems to be un­hurt and none of our own fish have es­caped. They are very small at this stage – the site has only re­cently been stocked with smolts which tend to swim to­wards the top of the pens away from the base.

‘The hole the tuna made was more like a slash than a round hole and we called in divers who re­paired it within a few hours.’

Ben Hadfield, man­ag­ing director of Ma­rine Har­vest Scot­land, was de­lighted the Colon­say staff man­aged to re­lease the tuna un­scathed.

‘Con­grat­u­la­tions to the team for sort­ing this. It could have been a very dif­fer­ent story and it’s tes­ta­ment to their skills that this beau­ti­ful fish is still alive and well.

‘They’re skilled in han­dling fish but our sal­mon grow to about 5kg in size, so this was well be­yond the norm. We be­lieve it was a whack­ing 300kg, which is more than 47 stone.’

Ma­rine Har­vest’s farm at Colon­say has 12 pens, each 120m in di­am­e­ter. Ten peo­ple are em­ployed at the farm, in­clud­ing the man­ager.

Above: Valu­able bluefin tuna was re­leased

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