An Atlantic bluefin tuna, weighing 140kg and measuring two meters, was caught by Dingle trawlers. A bluefin of this size could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars in Japan, where it’s used in sushi, but for the Kerry diners it’s a fraction of the cost.
The Dingle boats, the Fiona K and the Atlantic Venture, were fishing seine style, where two boats fish side by side with net in between the boats.
The hunt for the bluefin species was recently brought to the public’s attention by “Wicked Tuna”, a National Geographic, reality TV series, which follows the lives of Gloucester, Massachusetts, fishermen who lead harsh lives dealing with the decline of the species and strict quotas established on the fish.
Over the past three decades the bluefin species has decreased by 80 percent. This is due to the high demand for the fish in the sushi eating communities and especially Japan.
The fact that there is such a high demand for these fish means that despite the strict quotas, established so the species can recover, illegal fishing does take place.
Irish fishermen are only allowed to have bluefin tuna as a tiny part of their catch.
Kevin Flannery, Former fisheries officer and now director of Dingle Ocean world, told the Irish Times “As a by-catch they are only allowed 1 per cent bluefin.”
Flannery said that while a fish twice the size of this fish caught in Dingle recently sold in Japan for $746,000. However the fish caught in Dingle will only make a couple of hundred euros at the local fish factories and will be sold to local restaurants.
Here’s the promo for “Wicked Tuna”: