WAKAYAMA (TR) – For one ship captain, it was a fish story of monstrous proportions.
Last week, the largest tuna on record for Wakayama Prefecture was reeled in off the coast of the Kii Peninsula, reports TV Asahi (Mar. 6).
Weighing 446 kilograms and measuring 2.82 meters in length, the “king” kuro maguro, or northern bluefin tuna, was pulled aboard a longline fishing vessel about 320 kilometers off the coast on Friday.
“I thought it was a monster,” said Yoshifumi Kodama, the 50-year-old captain of the ship, which is from the town of Kawaminami in Miyazaki Prefecture, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 6).
He used sardine as bait. “I landed it after a 30-minute fight in which he didn’t get too violent,” he told the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 5).
Large enough enough to serve an estimated 3,000 sashimi (sliced fish) meals, the fish was sold at auction for 2.96 million yen.
The tuna is the largest by weight since statistics started being kept by a fishery cooperative in 1949. The previous record was a 417-kilogram tuna landed in January of last year.
The tuna was brought ashore at the Katsuura Fishing Harbor. Along with the Yaizu Fishing Harbor in Shizuoka Prefecture and Misaki Fishing Harbor in Kanagawa Prefecture, it is one Japan’s three most famous locations for longline fishing for tuna.
The landing of the record tuna comes one month after the Japan Fisheries Agency announced the setting of a limit on bluefin tuna catches in 2018 to better control the stocks of the endangered fish.
Next month, Japan is expected to revise an ordinance that will allow for the catch of bluefin to be limited under a system that takes into account scientific assessments of existing marine resources, according to Jiji Press (Feb. 18).