23 Jun 2012

Tuna in the North Sea?

Yes. In this case a small-bodied member of the family, the Atlantic bonito Sarda sarda. These two specimens (c. 1.75 kg apiece) took a right turn at Scotland and ended up in the nets of a fishing boat off Runswick's next door neighbour village Sandsend.
A relative of the tuna proper, these fish are usually found in large shoals in the Atlantic coastal waters off North and South America. Strays have occasionally been found off the southwest coast of England. One was caught off Harwich in October 2010 and reported to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

While now a rarity, tuna are not new to the area. Large tuna fed on the herring shoals that used to be abundant in the North Sea, and between 1910 and 1940 Whitby and Scarborough were the unlikely haunt of wealthy big game fishermen who targetted the big, feisty fish.

The British record for a rod-caught tuna was 851lb, which fell to Lorenzo Cecil Vaughan Mitchell-Henry while he was fishing out of Whitby in 1933.

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