When you are thinking of an ideal location to fish for tuna, chances are your first choice is not the waters surrounding New York City. However, those waters have been giving fishermen the opportunities to catch some of the prized trophy fish. And their catchers are weighing in as much as 600 pounds.
So, what has brought this bluefin tuna fishing abundance to those waters? Well, according to The New York Post, the abundance could be explained by the growing numbers of menhaden in the waters around the world-famous city. Menhaden are prey for the huge Atlantic tuna being caught in the same waters.
At one point, the menhaden population in the area dwindled. Thanks to conservation efforts they have returned in large numbers. Those efforts began in 2012 and have been successful. And because they have and the menhaden have made a comeback, the fish that eat them have also returned.
“We’ve seen the menhaden (a favorite prey colloquially called ‘bunker’) return to New York in record numbers. Since those fish have been coming back, we’ve seen a resurgence in things that eat them,” said New York Ocean Programs Director for the Nature Conservancy Carl Lobue.
“Their (bluefin tuna) population may be increasing a bit because of all the food. It seems they are more abundant now than they were 10 to 20 years ago,” said “Song for the Blue Ocean” author and Stony Brook University marine ecologist Carl Safina.
Fishermen Describe Their Very Memorable Tuna Catches
While their prey returning to the waters around New York City probably explains the abundance of tuna in the waters, that isn’t really something the people who are fishing for the trophy fish are worried about. They are just enjoying what they are managing to haul in.
Atlantic bluefin tuna can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They can also reach as much as 13 feet in length. They are usually found in the waters of New England and in other locations. The abundance of tuna in the waters outside New York City began during the summer of 2021. That abundance has continued into the fall.
Those fishing around New York City are bringing in some major catches. We are talking tuna weighing as much as 600 pounds. And, unsurprisingly, they are very happy with their work. They are also surprised at the abundance of tuna.
“We’ve never ever caught them like this. You see 200 boats out there and each is hooking a tuna — that’s a legit fishery,” said Richard Colombo, who established Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn.
Colombo also described how the number of fishermen wanting to catch tuna increased in recent months. “By the second week of August, everyone caught onto it, and that’s when you saw, like, 150 boats out,” he said.
Like many others, Colombo has also had success fishing for tuna. He said he caught one that was nine feet in length.
Fishing for tuna is exciting, which is also another reason people enjoy trying to catch this trophy fish. “It’s the thrill. It’s pound for pound the strongest fighting fish that you can hook. If you hook a 200-pound tuna versus a 200-pound shark, the tuna fights 10 times as hard,” Colombo also said.