Hooked: One of the Card brothers, left, works with Kerri D captain David Soares to get the 920 pound bluefin tuna off a wench. The bottom of the bluefin shows were a shark used it for a meal. *Photo by courtesy of Marine Locker
Hooked: One of the Card brothers, left, works with Kerri D captain David Soares to get the 920 pound bluefin tuna off a wench. The bottom of the bluefin shows were a shark used it for a meal. *Photo by courtesy of Marine Locker

FRIDAY, FEB. 3: To everyone who has ever thrown a rod overboard, Bermuda’s Andrew Card is now a legend.

A hero, a sort of Babe Ruth of fishing.

His 920 pound bluefin tuna catch off the coast of Bermuda Wednesday was a monumental achievement.

Mainly because this glorious creature of the deep was over 10 feet long and weighed, as he was hauling it in, just over 1,000 pounds. It lost some weight when a shark decided to grab a keepsake part of it for himself.

Anyway, it makes this fish a monster, and one of the biggest of its kind caught anywhere in the world... ever!

For the record, the largest was 1,496 pounds and was nabbed off the coast of Nova Scotia in Canada in 1976.

Now, let’s talk for a moment about 1976.

Since that record catch, the numbers of these handsome fish have dwindled.

This is because people catch them for sport, but that in itself hasn’t really culled the numbers.

The bluefin tuna is a delicacy in sushi dishes and the Japanese make a bucket load of cash every time they land one of these creatures.

Oh, how the commercial Japanese fishermen would envy Mr Card and his catch. They’d party till the cows came home.

But let’s look at this in perspective.

The excitement of such a catch as Andrew Card’s has given us all time to illustrate how wonderful bluefin are, true, but also that they are at the brink of extinction. 

Bluefin have great speed, power and endurance, and are the world’s most highly evolved fish. 

But, those Japanese buyers will pay huge sums for quality bluefin, thus over-stimulating demand and putting them in great danger. 

Over-fishing has driven the western Atlantic bluefin population to only three per cent of the abundance existing before industrial scale fishing began to affect it in 1960.

The bluefin community in the Bermuda waters, home of perfectly proportioned bluefin, are too close to slipping into extinction.

Glorious

None of that should in any way diminish the importance or achievement of Mr Card’s efforts.

In modern day terms, this catch is significant because it is a giant of the sea in its species.

And those who might howl that such a glorious creature should never have been caught, and left unprotected as it was being hauled aboard the boat, thus exposing it to a series of free savage attacks by a hungry huge shark, need to keep this in mind.

Bluefin tuna live to be about 30 years of age, give or take a few either side of that figure. For this bloke to grow this large he must have become rather old and therefore his days were probably numbered anyway.

And it is probably no different a deal than the news that came from waters off the coast of New Zealand in January when marine biologists discovered what they are calling the ‘super giants’ of another species.

And these big bad boys were hauled in from their comfortable homes too with nary a sigh of protest by anyone.

They are normally around 2-3cm long.

But these beasts, discovered in the Kermadec Trench, were more than 10 times bigger than anything of this species every found before: the largest captured that day measured in a whopping 34cm!

I researched what that meant to the people who delve in such marine matters and this quote by Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab was priceless — “It’s a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach.”

Hmmm, or, perhaps a 1,000 pound giant bluefin tuna!

Anyway, Andrew Card has a rather tough decision on his hands now, based on many fronts, not the least of which following an event in Japan last week.

At an auction for a bluefin tuna, a prominent restaurateur stepped up and bid big on the big fish.

The particular bluefin tuna he bought, which was caught off northeastern Japan, fetched a record 56.49 million yen, or about US$736,000!

And it was a only 593 pounds! The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, president of a sushi restaurant chain.

If only I could find his cell phone number and hand it over to Andrew Card.

I’m sure there would be a spotter’s fee for me.