Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Huge Yellowfin Tuna

Nevermind that marlin story (below), check out this tuna!

I got word a few hours ago that a big tuna was caught by a local Zamami commercial fisherman today and he was expected to arrive back around 10pm. Luckily my apartment affords a front-row seat to the marina, so when cars, scooters, bikes, people, and dogs started streaming by at 10:10pm, I knew his arrival was imminent.

[About 60 people, or 10% of the village's population came to welcome home the fisherman]

His tuna was rough-guessed by him at 200kg (440lbs.). Some details were sketchy because of the language barrier and the excitement/drunkenness of my informant, but I think it took about an hour to get the fish in. He caught it using a rope and presumably some heavy monofilament leader and live bait. He didn't have a pole/reel or use an electric reel, but rather he fought the fish with his boat (and it still took an hour!). When he got it close he had to spear it, then get it (somehow!) through a gate that opens on the side of the boat.

[A fish this size is once-in-a-lifetime, even for a commercial fisherman. I was lucky just to be able to witness it - note in this picture that he had to cut off the tail to get the fish in the hatches]

Daichi (fisherman, green shirt) and his wife. This is a big moment for them. A fish this big caught in Aomori prefecture (north of Japan) would bring in $50-60,000+, but the fat content of those tuna is ideal for sashimi. Okinawan tuna is leaner and I was told this fish will probably bring in under $10,000. But that's more money than I made today.

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