Japanese and South Korean fishing vessels such as the Manu target bluefin tuna 215 miles off the west coast of Ireland. Photo Nendo

Japanese and South Korean fishing vessels such as the Maru target bluefin tuna 215 miles off the west coast of Ireland. Photo Nendo

A number of vessels from Japan and South Korea are currently fishing for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna off the west coast of Ireland.

Bluefin tuna is the most valuable fish in the world and this Asian fleet has been fishing without restrictions for bluefin tuna in international waters of the North Atlantic for the past few weeks.

More than thirty vessels, mostly from Japan and South Korea, have been fishing for bluefin tuna in the North Atlantic in recent weeks, just over 215 nautical miles of the west coast of Ireland and 200 to the south of Iceland. The vessels could take almost fifty days to sail from a fishing ground to their home port. The fishing is said to be good.

There were three ships at the beginning of September, but from the middle of the month they began to increase in number and most were 34 in a 55-day period. They are almost all with the same appearance, size and engine power. The length is 48-52 meters and the width 9 – 10 meters and about 500 tons.

The engines are in the range of 700 to 1200 kW. They are built between 1990 and 2019 and have undergone very little change during these years, the hearth is frozen on board. It is easy to track orders and obtain information about them on digital information providers.

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It is safe to say that the fish is in demand, but from the fishing grounds of the vessels in the Pacific Ocean there are 9,500 nautical miles, which is equivalent to about 36 days of sailing on a fishing ground south of Iceland. Returning to your home port could be a minimum of 12,200 nautical miles or about 47 days of sailing.

Bluefin tuna are among the largest bony fish in the ocean and can weigh more than half a ton or weigh up to 700 kilos. They are rather fast and can reach up to 70 kilometres per hour.

Unlike most fish, blue-blooded tuna are warm-blooded and require a lot of energy and oxygen. They therefore need a lot of energy and prefer to eat smaller fish and squid, in addition to which they are constantly traveling around the sea to absorb enough oxygen. If they land in a net, bluefin tuna will drown.

The fish can be found all over the Atlantic Ocean and is the spawning area in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, from where the fish swims across the sea and has, among other things, found its way all the way north with Norway.

Since 2016, quota for bluefin tuna in EU waters has increased from 11,200 tonnes to 19,730 tonnes but even though the tuna spends four-month of the year feeding along the west coast of Ireland, the Irish fishing fleet is denied permission to catch this valuable fish that can fetch €100,000 each on the Japanese fish market.

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Japanese and South Korean fleet target bluefin tuna off Irish coast

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