The crew of Baldvin Njálsson GK from Gardur were stunned to discover 12 bluefin tunas in their mid-water trawl while fishing for mackerel 50 nautical miles east of Djúpivogur, southeast Iceland, earlier this month.
A northern bluefin tuna. Source: Wikipedia.
“We would have been surprised to catch one tuna, let alone 12,” captain Arnar Óskarsson told Morgunbladid. “There were other ships in these fishing grounds but none of them caught any tuna along with their mackerel and I’ve never heard of such a catch in Icelandic waters before.”
Each fish weighed 220-250 kilos and so this was a catch of almost three tons. However, there was hardly any mackerel in the trawl. The catch was processed and frozen and the crew members are considering selling it to Japan.
However, ideally it should be frozen at -60°C (-76°F) instead of -33°C (-27°F), which was the lowest possible temperature at the time, but Óskarsson is confident that he will obtain a good price for the tuna—quality tuna goes for sky-high prices at auctions.
“I have heard of Japanese ships that were chasing tuna to the south of Iceland and they were said to be satisfied with one to three fish per 24 hours,” Óskarsson stated.
The website of the Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries states that all tunas caught in Icelandic waters must be reported to the directorate, which reports it to the ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas).
All organized fishing of bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic is banned without special permission from the directorate.