Bluefin tuna found on Devon coast

A giant bluefin tuna found on the Devon coast has fetched £50 at auction. Image: MMO

A 104kg tuna, seized by fisheries authorities in Devon after it was discovered to be of the endangered bluefin species, was sold for £50 at auction this morning.

The tuna was unintentionally caught off the coast of Devon last month but was confiscated from Brixham Fish Market by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) because UK fishermen are not permitted to catch the species.

The frozen fish was sold at Brixham this morning after the MMO concluded its investigations.

When the fish was listed at the auction last month shortly after landing, it received bids of up to £1,500 because it was fresh at the time and was thought to be a yellowfin tuna.

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The fish fetched less money at auction this morning because it was frozen and therefore less attractive to high-end buyers, for example, for use in sushi. “If it had been fresh, I would have thought it would have made very good money,” said auctioneer John Rogers.

Tuna is rarely landed off the Devon coast and it was the first one Rogers had seen in 15 years of working at the market. “It was a lovely fish but unfortunately it’s a fish that you can’t catch.” 

The fish was bought by Brixham fish merchant David Walker and Son and dispatched to a customer shortly afterwards. The company declined to reveal the name of its customer.

The sale proceeds will be donated to the Sarah Jayne Fund, set up by the Fishermen’s Mission charity. The money will go to support the family of Geoff Ingram, who went missing after the Exmouth-based trawler, the Sarah Jayne, capsized near Brixham last year.

“We call for the fishing industry not to catch bluefin tuna and, where catches are unavoidable, the tuna should be released alive and unharmed to the greatest extent possible,” an MMO spokeswoman said.