Bluefin Tuna off ScotlandSeptember 20th, 2013
Bluefin Tuna off the Scottish coast? It may come to a surprise to most that these magnificent creatures are making their way into the highland waters, but it is true.
Angus Campbell, of Kilda Cruises located in Scotland on the Isle of Harris contacted us here at Fisherman’s Outfitter inquiring about the gear required to target Bluefins. Angus runs ecological charters to St. Kilda and other islands of the Hebrides of Scotland and recently noticed the Bluefins occasionally feeding on his tours.
Johnny White, owner of Fisherman’s Outfitter spent the first two weeks of September off St. Kilda showing the crew how to use the gear. Due to rough conditions that are normal this time of year, the window to fish was a short 2 days. After surveying the areas around the Island they located an area that held lots of bait, birds and hopefully Tuna. The short amount of time did not produce a Bluefin, but did provide confidence that these waters held them!
Fisherman’s Outfitter was also featured in a European Newspaper and website http://www.totalseamagazine.com/news/item/1003-tuna-off-scotland, which article can be viewed below.
Atlantic bluefins chase mackerel off coast of Kilda. For a few years now there have been reports of large fish around shoals of mackerel off the coast of the Outer Hebrides. Kilda Cruises and other boat operators in the Western isles have spotted bluefin tuna on their trips to St Kilda. A few years ago the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust also reported a bluefin tuna being found washed up on a beach on the Isle of Mull.
Angus Campbell, the owner of Kilda Cruises, also runs Atlantic Marine Services (AMS). AMS provides specialist support for organisations doing marine surveys west of the Hebrides. Angus is currently investigating the viability of fishing for bluefin tuna. Specialist fishing gear was ordered from the USA and John White of Fisherman’s Outfitter, in Massachusetts, USA, came to teach the ins and outs of how to catch these massive creatures.
What is so special about the Atlantic bluefin tuna? The answer is their size, speed and that they tend not to enter Scottish waters. The average length is two metres and average weight is 250kg.
Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies can travel up to 43 miles an hour. Bluefin tunas are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish. Because of this they are able to adjust their body temperature, keeping it higher than the surrounding water, which is why they are so well adapted to cooler ocean waters.
Bluefin tuna have been seen and caught off the Irish coast for decades but it would appear that they are gradually moving north as herring stocks recover. Although Bluefin tuna have been overfished during the last 20 years, some recent studies show an encouraging rebirth of the North Atlantic population thanks to some great conservation efforts in the western Atlantic.