Tuna fished out of salmon pen
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