Bluefin tuna caught in salmon pen

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A bluefin tuna is reported to have broken through the net at one of Lingalaks’ salmon pens in Bømlo municipality in Norway.

Chairman of the board Erlend Haugarvoll informs SalmonBusiness that the company will use a well boat to get the bluefin out. The tuna has caused a tear in the net wall, which entails a danger of salmon escaping.

Lingalaks has released recapture nets at the pen.

“There are no salmon in recapture nets at the moment,” Haugarvoll wrote in an email to SalmonBusiness.

Coming tonight
He refers to general manager Kristian Botnen for further comments in relation to  the big catch.

“We must have a well boat to capture the fish with a net and get in on board. But the boat will not arrive until eight o’clock tonight,” he said.

It took some time before the breeders received confirmation that there was actually a bluefin in the cage.

“He’s been observed. We were not 100 per cent sure when the hole was discovered. But based on what other breeders say, it’s a pretty similar hole to those  that others have experienced. There have been two such cases earlier this summer down here, for Bremnes and Lerøy,” said Botnen.

Many litres
“We did not observe noise inside there until last night. There are many litres of water in each cage, and the camera sees only parts of it. But they have seen it on the edge of the cage. We have not caught any escaped fish yet. So we don’t yet know the extent of any problems we have with escaped fish. But we will get an indication when we take in the well boat. We doubt the tuna has eaten salmon. It hunts mackerel, and there have been plenty of shoals around around the facility.”

Animal welfare is central – also in the killing of bluefin.

“It is a bit tricky for us to apply for a permit. People who go deer hunting must shoot it with a rifle. You’re not allowed to use a harpoon. It’s a bit rigid. One must have approval to do so. It must take place in the right way,” Botnen explains.

Quick
He hopes the crew will catch the intruder as soon as possible.

“We know that Bremnes managed it on the first cast, while others have spent several days. We hope we can do it fairly quickly. It will be stressful for the fish. We noticed it inside the feed centre,” he said, adding that he himself follows the video screens at the feed centre at the head office in Norheimsund.

Facts

Bluefin Tuna

There are two distinct populations of Atlantic bluefin: one in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, the other near the United States, though this is about a tenth of the size of the eastern group. Both are classified as overfished.

Bluefin tuna are the largest of the tuna species. The fish can reach a length of more than three meters and a weight of more than 600 kilos. They are extremely fast swimmers with a top speed, according to Wikipedia, of up to 100 kilometres per hour. They are easily capable of torpedoing a farming net.

This is not the first time a bluefin has burst into a salmon cage. This is the latest is a series of similar incidents in recent years, especially in late summer or early autumn when the tuna are pursuing shoals of mackerel.

Also read: 47-stone bluefin tuna blasts into Scottish Salmon Company cage

A 300kg tuna is lifted from the net pen at Mowi’s farm in Colonsay, 2017. PHOTO: Mowi