Earlier this month, a Normandy newspaper reported that 44 of the species had been caught by two French vessels trawling ‘west of the Minquiers’ and sold in the nearby port of Granville.
On Sunday three recreational fishermen caught the 102 kg specimen, measuring around 6 ft in length, after fishing in the same area. They landed it at the Victoria Pier in the Harbour.
However, a spokesman from the States Fisheries and Marine Resources section has warned that although recreational anglers will not be breaking the law by catching them, they will be targeting a highly endangered species.
‘During the past two weeks, shoals of bluefin tuna (BFT) have been sighted in Jersey waters.
‘BFT are categorised on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as endangered as they have been heavily overfished across their range.
‘Severe restrictions are in place internationally in order to preserve the remaining wild stock. This includes strict quotas, which in the case of the UK is zero, which means BFT cannot be caught in UK waters by British commercial or recreational vessels.’
However, the spokesman added that the fish could legally be caught by recreational fishermen in Jersey waters but warned that Islanders should not do so – even if they intended to return them to the sea alive.
‘We are requesting that anglers do not target bluefin tuna, even on a catch-and-release basis, as they are an endangered species and the prolonged struggle will kill most individuals, even if they are alive when released.
‘It can take hours to land a tuna and by that point the animal will be exhausted and overheated to the point of no return – the dispersal of muscle heat is a particular issue and can lead to the animal, in effect, cooking itself from the inside out.
‘While recreational fishing measures are being considered we remind anglers that this is an endangered species and it should not be targeted.’