Nick Lewis, left, went right down to the wire Monday, landing his tuna at Tignish on the final day of Prince Edward Island’s initial allocation. He watches as Paul Gavin dresses his fish. Lewis, who admitted he had bad luck on his earlier attempts to catch his fish, was pleased with the quality of Monday’s catch which dressed 205 kilograms and was being shipped to Japan on consignment.
Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
TIGNISH -- After a busy two weeks of fishing activity, Prince Edward Island’s initial tuna season trickled to a close Monday.
The season opened on July 15 with all 359 members of the P.E.I. fleet plus the native council eligible to obtain one tag per boat.
As usual, most participants choose to wait until late in the allocation period to utilize their tag, banking on the tuna bulking up on nearby feeding grounds. A spokesman at Royal Star said Monday the fish landed late in the season were, indeed, larger than those hooked early in the summer.
Matt Ross, president of Chubby Fish, was on the wharf in Tignish at noon Monday when one of the final fish came in. It dressed 205 kilograms and, although smaller than the average run lately, Ross declared it “a really nice fish”. He is shipping it to Japan on consignment for the seller. The available market increases dramatically for smaller fish, he said, but conceded the pay-off is often still bigger for larger fish. “The multiplier is there when you get a 700 to 800 pound fish,” he noted.
Ross was heading to the mainland later Monday to buy fish elsewhere, but he said he’d be back when the re-allocation opens up.
The majority of fish landed at Tignish so far this year were sold by auction.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, DFO was reporting that 107.4275 metric tonnes of tuna was landed by P.E.I. fishermen. The total allocation for the Island fleet is 125.979 MT, meaning upwards to 18.5515 MT could still be available when the second phase of the season opens Friday morning.
The actual number of tuna landed was not immediately available, and there was still time for more to be brought in later in the day, but it was generally held that practically all fishermen who participated in the fishery this year were successful in landing a fish.
Interested fishermen had to register for the second phase and the draw for the remaining tags has already been held.
Once the fishery reopens, fishermen have only until the remaining allocation is exhausted to land a fish. Those who have not landed a fish when the allocation is used up and the season is declared closed will not be reimbursed for their unused tags.