Most of Prince Edward Island's tuna quota still swimming

Eric McCarthy
Published on September 4, 2014
Tuna Cup

ALBERTON — P.E.I.’s tuna fleet is taking its time going after their one-fish-per-boat allocation. The season opened on July 30 but most of the quota is still swimming.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided figures Monday that showed only 28 fish, weighing 6.988 tonnes, had been landed so far. That figure, which accounts for 5.5 per cent of the Island’s allocation of 125.86 tonnes, does not include any fish landed after 2 p.m. Monday.

Seacow Pond fisherman, Ricky Brennan, said he would wait until he finishes the herring fishery before he thinks about heading out for his tuna.

“The fish are just starting to come in, starting to feed now,” he said, explaining he is content to wait until the tuna fatten up on herring before utilizing the one tag he has been issued.

The Island’s 359-member fleet has until the end of September to land one fish per boat in the initial season. The current tags will be no good after Sept. 30 and new tags will be issued through a draw to fish any remaining allocation.

Brennan admits there is no great rush as the only way the quota would be used up before Sept. 30 would be if every tuna landed weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds.

“Where the bait is, that’s where the tuna are,” Brennan said noting fishermen are seeing tuna while fishing herring, but he described those sightings as “spotty” so far.

There have been some good tuna landed this season, including one Monday that fetched $12 a pound, Brennan reported.

Some fish, he said, are sold through a dockside auction and others are sold on consignment. When sold on consignment, fishermen only learn their price after their fish reaches market, most likely in Japan.