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Natura Algarve

The capture of the Bluefin Tuna

17.11.2008 // Natura Algarve


The bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus is the biggest tuna specie, ranging from 2-3 meters long and 250-700 Kg weight. There are at least 2 subspecies, one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific.

It’s a species that form large school by size, sometimes together with albacore, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, frigate tuna, eastern Pacific bonito. Feed on fish, squids and pelagic crustaceous. They are also known by their long migration distances, swimming at high velocities (60-80 km/h). This is a reason for their flesh being so red an irrigated.

Tuna is one of the specie with most economical importance in the world. Captured by several types of gear, such as trap nets, purse seines, longlines, trolling lines and others. Some of the oldest fisheries documented are Mediterranean trap fisheries.

This also rises some environmental questions. Today it is considered one of the endangered fish species. There are some management rules like the number of licenses, limitation of fishing season, minimum size and maximum-catch-per-boat-and-day-regulations.

The Mediterranean Sea is an important spawning ground for the bluefin tuna. To protect areas like this one, and control the fisheries management there’s the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) also trying to recover the levels of abundance of this specie.

In the Algarve, until the 70’s, was one of the species captured by the old fisherman’s.

Along the Algarve’s coast, the “almadravas” were mounted in a short distance of the shore. In a transversal position, they blocked the migratory runway of the fish. While trying to surround them, the tuna run to a net compartment totally closed and stay there, trapped. With this compartment full of fish, the fishermen hoist him up with a hook to a support vessel.

This fishing art was abandoned and stories remained to be told by the old man. ..

To know more about this and others fishing arts, about the economical power that evolved this region, join us on a boat tour in Ria Formosa, and learn more about the “Fishing History”.

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