Friday, July 13, 2007

The Perfect-Size Bluefin

Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. I'm happy to report that the Shogun, the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) team, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium team have taken the jinx out of Friday, the 13th. We found the perfect bluefin tuna for collection.

Captain Norm put us on a school that was chowing on a bait ball of small sardines. The Shogun crew quickly tossed out a lot of live sardines. We all snapped into action and put out our 30- to 50-pound test lines with barbless circle hooks and voila! -- we had hook-ups on small bluefin. The swim step team (Ty and Luis, our TRCC techs) who had been drilling on albacore were quick to step into action. They rapidly placed live bluefin into the vinyl stretchers. Fish were coming in from both directions. Then the fish were rapidly placed into the hands of a deck team who guided the fish into the Shogun's wells, which are filled with aerated seawater. The fish were the perfect collection size of 18 to 25 pounds. We have 8 fish on board so far, and we’re continuing to look. We'll head into shore to unload tomorrow morning at the dock. ABOARD THE F/V SHOGUN, Off San Diego, California.

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