When a commercial fishing crew managed to snag a 881-pound bluefin tuna, they were probably expecting a pretty big payday. Considering that early this year a 754-pound bluefin was sold in Japan in an auction for about $396,000, they would have been right.
After hearing from his crew of the accidental catch – it’s believed that the fish got caught up in the trawling gear as the crew was fishing for bottom-dwelling specimens – boat owner Carlos Rafael contacted a bluefin tuna hotline operated by fishing regulators.
When the crew managed to reach land in Provincetown Harbor, however, feds were there waiting for them; they took the massive tuna from the crew, telling them that their catch was illegal – tuna must be caught with a rod and reel, not a net.
This was news to Rafael.
“They never brought up you could only catch with a rod and reel, not with a net. Just they tell me this is the size, and time to get it in by and so forth,” he said. “So we come in, and Uncle Sam gets the fish.”
After confiscating the large bluefish tuna, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agents said that his catch would be sold by the NOAA, but Rafael and his crew likely won’t be getting any of the reward for themselves. Instead, they’ll most likely be receiving a warning from the NOAA.
Rafael and his crew did have tuna fishing permits for the boat – they’ve had several in the past, in fact – but that didn’t stop the feds from beign able to take the tuna away. Now, Rafael says he’s considering giving his tuna fishing permits up, as they’re apparently worthless.
Check out a video interview with the boat’s owner from FOX News below.
Source: South Coast Today