A giant bluefin tuna weighing 600lbs and measuring more than 8ft has been caught off the coast of Ireland.
The monster fish is the largest specimen hauled in from our waters this year – and would be worth almost €3million in Japan.
It was caught by Dave Edwards from West Cork Charters as part of an ongoing catch and release programme aimed at establishing population numbers for the fish in the Atlantic.
Dave caught the specimen on Sunday about three miles south of his base in Courtmacsherry and was assisted by Darren O’Sullivan from Cork city and Dutch fisherman Henk Veldman.
Dave said: “They are much more common up in Donegal Bay where they follow the herring.
“They are more unusual down here but tend to be much bigger when they do show up.
“This is the first one caught south of Donegal Bay this year and it really was a big fish.”
Dave’s boat is one of 15 along the south and west coasts taking part in the catch and release programme that runs from August 15 to October 15. He said: “It’s getting close to the end of the season so we were beginning to lose hope that we would see any.
“Then on Sunday we had a huge fish on the reel that must have been closer to 10ft but after two-and-a-half hours it got away.
“We knew they were out there then though and so it turned out when we managed to tag this one.”
The fish was so large that it had to be measured in the water before being tagged and released.
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Catching Atlantic bluefin tuna requires specialist heavy duty gear as the fish is among the largest and most powerful in the ocean.
From their spawning grounds in the western Mediterranean they move up the west coast of Europe often following herring.
In recent years numbers have declined sharply and commercial fishing is strictly regulated.
Bluefin tuna is a prized delicacy in Japan where individual fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars – and one around the size of this giant catch went for almost €3million in January.