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Feds Investigate Illegally Caught Bluefin Tuna On Florida Coast United States, June 12, 13

NOAA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are investigating who reeled in a 700 pound Bluefin tuna caught near Boynton Beach, Florida reported WPTV on June 7.

Catching a Bluefin tuna in June is illegal and catching one out of season can be a federal crime.

“We are working with our federal partners to see if any violations occurred and what those might be,” said Carli Segelson, an FWC staff member.

Van Blakeman who runs his fishing charter out of the Riviera Beach Marina said the giant fish was caught and then sold.

“It’s a big money fish caught two days ago and it’s worth several thousand dollars,” said Blakeman. “Someone’s greed got in the way once again.”
Blakeman admits you cannot help what comes in on your line, but this tuna should have been immediately cut loose. He says this sort of “poaching” affects the whole industry.

“It affects us because it ends up reducing the fish population for everyone else,” said Blakeman.

NOAA said no arrests have been made in the case.

Bluefin tuna are regarded as one of the most highly evolved fish species and one of the most prized fish in danger of overfishing. One fish can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A 342 kilogram (1kg = 2.2 pounds) tuna sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for 32.49 million yen (USD 396,700), the highest price for a single fish since record-keeping began in 1999.

Atlantic bluefin tunas are the largest member of the Tuna Family. They are one of the largest bony fishes and can reach lengths of up to 3 meters, (1m = 3.3 feet) although they are more commonly found from 0.5-2 m in length. Adult weights range from 136-680 kg. They can dive as deep as 914 m, and are known to swim long distances as they are a highly migratory species.