Posted on Aug 31, 2015

What happened to bluefin tuna off Cornwall?

A huge shoal of bluefin tuna worth around £250million has been spotted off the West Country coast, according to reports in the Western Morning News.

The 500-strong shoal is said to have been seen during a wildlife cruise off the Cornish coast. A single fish can fetch up to £1 million on the Japanese
market where it is eaten raw in sushi and is a highly sort-after delicacy.

British fishermen have no quota for the tuna and only some countries, such as France, Spain and Greece, are allowed to land them and then only up to July.

It has sparked fears that the fish, which can grow to 6ft long and weigh 550lb, could be illegally targeted.

But Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: “We do get the odd bluefin tuna but a shoal worth £250 million seems
highly unlikely.”

“Even if they are out there, we couldn’t land them anyway.”

A massive bluefin tuna was found in Cornish waters last year. A group of friends who happened to be visiting Cornwall, discovered the 2m long fish floating
in the sea whilst they were kayaking at Kingsand in July, and hauled it to shore on a kayak. The fish weighed 300lbs (140kg).

The friends – Sarah Little, 22, Laura Pickervance, 23, Shauna Creamer, 23, Charlotte Chambers, 24, and Hannah Ford, 24 – were not allowed to sell it under
EU laws which forbids trade in the critically-endangered species.

Instead, they donated the fish to The University of Exeter in Falmouth where scientists carried out post-mortem examinations.

Parts of the fish were sent off for testing to determine its age and whether it came from the Mediterranean or the Gulf of Mexico. A section of ear was
also removed to determine what killed it.

Atlantic bluefin tuna are listed as endangered on the IUCM red list of threatened species.

There have been 26 recordings of the species in Cornish waters since late 1800s – but few as big as the one found in July.

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