Rhode Island Authorities Seize Massive 9-Foot Tuna From Unlicensed Charter Boat

by Lauren Boisvert

In Rhode Island, the Department of Environmental Management seized a massive bluefin tuna from a Massachusetts charter boat. The authorities issued a criminal summons to the boat’s captain as well. The tuna was 9.4 feet long.

The incident came about after it was determined that the captain did not have a permit to fish in Rhode Island waters. Additionally, he was paying the clients on his boat to keep that fact hush-hush. Environmental police officers made contact with the captain in Rhode Island waters. Then, they noticed that he had a recently caught bluefin in his boat.

The boat was escorted to a port where the fish was seized. It was eventually sold to a licensed dealer, according to a report from the Providence Journal.

“Giant bluefin tuna along the [Rhode Island] coast are an indicator of a healthy ecosystem and are great opportunities for properly licensed commercial fishermen,” the Department of Environmental Management said in a statement. “[Rhode Island] Environmental Police Officers are committed to protecting this vital resource for the benefit of properly licensed fishermen who pursue these fish.”

Angler Catches Oldest Bluefin Tuna After 4-Hour Battle in Australia

In other bluefin news, earlier this month a 17-year-old fisherman from Australia caught a record-breaking bluefin tuna. But it wasn’t the biggest, or the longest, or even the heaviest. How did this fish break any records? Well, it turned out to be the oldest.

Ryan Gazzola entered into a 4-hour battle with the bluefin on Sept. 3, off the coast of Gunnamatta Beach. The tuna ended up weighing 298 pounds and was about 6 feet long. According to Outdoor Life, this was Gazzola’s first bluefin, and he was ecstatic. No matter that it wasn’t breaking any records, as the Australian bluefin record is a 600-pounder and the All-Tackle record is over 1,000 pounds. But, he was happy nonetheless.

But, there was a surprise in store for the young angler. It turns out, the fish still possessed a 29-year-old tag from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). At the time the tag was placed in the fish, it was around 1.7 feet long.

Bluefin tuna usually live around 15 to 25 years, so this fish is of special significance. Fishing Tasmania and CSIRO said that this bluefin is the longest “at liberty” on record. In other words, no other fish has lived this long after being tagged. At least in Australia.

To add to the rarity of the catch, CSIRO scientist Campbell Davies said that most tagged fish are caught within 3 to 5 years of their tag. Therefore, it’s truly amazing that this fish avoided being caught for almost 30 years. Davies expressed that “Anyone who gets to catch a fish of that size and of that age is a very lucky bloke.”