A large scale illegal fish poaching operation was thwarted Christchurch Harbour, Dorset this month. A number of people planned to use a net which was said to be almost a mile in length to lift a range of species out of the harbour, and the well organised plan even saw the alleged poachers have a refrigerated van on standby to transport their illegal catch. It is not clear the stage they were at when they were stopped, but at least some fish had already been caught including flounder, bass and sea trout. Two people were detained and a number of others fled the scene. At the time of writing police were still continuing their inquiries. Read more and watch a video about this incident on the BBC website here.
A British angler caught one of the biggest fish ever on a rod and line on the 25th of March, although the news only broke this month. Andy Hales, a 55-year-old company director from Birmingham, was fishing off the coast of South Africa when he hooked the shark which he reportedly battled for two hours and had the boat he was in towed by the shark for two nautical miles. The shark was too large to bring on board the boar Mr. Hales was on, but was brought alongside the boat and was estimated at being 20ft in length and two tonnes in weight. Unlike the tuna caught below the great white was returned to the sea.
Read the report and see pictures of the shark by clicking here. However, there was still controversy over the capture and release of this shark as South Africa is one of the few countries which has legal protection for great white sharks and it is illegal to catch or target this species for sport. Read more here.
The destructive and damaging properties that plastic has on the marine environment were highlighted this month. A coastal clean up of West Country beaches collected a massive 25 tons of marine litter. Some of the plastic items collected included household waste from the 1970s, showing how long lasting and damaging this type of waste can be. Read more here.
The world record for a rod caught bluefin tuna has been caught by an angler named Donna Pascoe off the coast of New Zealand. The fish weighed 411kg (906lb or 64 stone) which smashes the old record for a rod caught bluefin by 130lbs, although the catch has yet to be offically verified. The tuna was said to have a wholesale value of around £5,000 to £10,000 and a retail value approaching £50,000. However, the fish was not allowed to be sold as it was not caught on a licensed commercial vessel. Pascoe said that she planned to have the 8ft 9in fish stuffed and mounted in her home.
While many congratulated Pascoe for the catch others were angry that such a fish had been killed purely to claim a record. All species of bluefin tuna are severely overfished, and many criticised the decision to kill this fish when it couldn’t even be used as food. Read the Daily Mail article on this story here.