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Bluefin Are Biting Off Canadian Coast

While prices in the early season are still low, tuna fishermen are quickly hauling in the quota for the August portion of the season.

"It's quite busy out there now. Lots of hook ups. Lots of losses, too, mind you, but lots of hook ups," said tuna fisherman Jamie Bruce. "Right down the shore, there seems to be fish everywhere."

More than 60 tuna have been landed Island-wide since the season opened Monday, and Bruce speculated the 40-ton quota for August could be caught by the end of the day Wednesday.

While the fish are biting, industry monitors say many are on the small side, in the range of 400 to 500 pounds.

Prices are also low, in the range of $4 to $12 a pound. Last August, the average price was $11 a pound. To a degree, however, that was expected.

"Prices are varying. There are some good prices," said Bruce. "We knew that when the committee decided to fish the 40-ton [quota] right now. … it's early. They need time to come in and fatten up, so you're going to get some highs, and you're going to get some lows."

The fishermen decided voluntarily to catch the bulk of the total 138-ton quota in October, when the fish will be fatter. But there was some concern if they tried to catch it all in October, not all the quota could be caught before the weather turned bad.

Island fishermen have adopted other rules to ease pressure on tuna stocks. Each boat is allowed only one fish per day, and crews don't fish on weekends.