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Australian Bluefin Catching Season Starts Off Australia, January 3, 13

Most tuna companies were expected to head out to sea yesterday to start the annual catch season.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess said only one company went fishing in December, and was “very successful”.

Most other companies were set to leave Port Lincoln for the fishing grounds yesterday, but a few others will wait until later in the month.

Mr. Jeffriess said it was too early to predict the strength of the coming season.

“The new science used by governments says that the spawning stock is three times what was thought before,” he said.

“We know from the large numbers of small tuna seen by the CSIRO in previous seasons that the older fish are somewhere in the Great Australian Bight; however, they may not be in the normal fishing grounds.”

There are five main catching boats and a large number of support boats to assist the fishing and towing.

There is also a number of spotting planes to identify the area of the tuna.

The annual CSIRO January/March aerial survey was expected to start January 1st depending on the weather.

The survey is one of the two main data sets used in the model to set the quota.