Bluefin tuna, if you catch it you have to release it: here’s how to recognize it

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Red tuna
Red tuna

Watch out boat trollers because if you catch red tuna, the fish in the picture, you have to release it or risk really steep fines.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was handed a 1,500 euro fine in my hand,” a gentleman who had his boat moored next to mine in Genoa and came from the coast near Pesaro told me. “I found out in spite of myself that that 50-pound fish I had caught trolling and proudly displayed on the dock in the marina where I usually keep my boat was a bluefin tuna.”

Fishing boats, here are 8 fisherman from open to cruisers

Bluefin tuna, watch out for fines…salty!

Andrea, that’s his name, is not the only one who has been punished by heavy penalties in this summer when our Mediterranean seems (thankfully) to be overrun by Thunnus Thynnus, the scientific name for bluefin tuna, whose fishing is ultra-regulated. If you catch one, watch out because you can only keep one (one per day) that is at least 115 cm long or 30 kg heavy (by the way, what a feat to pull it up!), only if you have special permission, of three-year duration, to be obtained from the relevant Maritime District Office in the port where you keep your boat. Conversely, you will have to release it immediately.

In the unfortunate event that it comes up already dead (it can happen that the tuna is stricken with a heart attack while struggling on the hook), report it immediately to the harbor master’s office at the port of landing.

How to recognize bluefin tuna

What is different about a bluefin tuna from other species whose fishing is free, such as allurement and mackerel? Bluefin tuna can be recognized because when it comes out of the water it shows typical vertical stripes from the back to the belly.

Red tuna
Red tuna

The skipjack can be recognized by the dark “tiger tag” on its back, similar to that of mackerel, while the skipjack can be recognized by the tiger tag on its back and the black dots near the belly, just behind the gills.

Tuna mackerel and albacore tuna

The tombarello can be recognized by the dark
The tombarello can be recognized by the dark “tiger” on its back, similar to that of mackerel.

The skipjack tuna can be recognized by the tiger tag on its back and the black dots near the belly, just behind the gills.
The skipjack tuna can be recognized by the tiger tag on its back and the black dots near the belly, just behind the gills.

E.R.

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