jan 30 2010

A large catch of bluefin tuna in 1952

Published by at 10:30 pm under Fishing history,Stories from the sea

I keep publishing films and this one is rather special. Allthough the quality is «average» it is a very rare film as it is from 1952 and in colors. It is also a unique documenation of the first years of fishing bluefin tuna with purse seine in Norway.

The film shows an ordinary Norwegian fishing vessel using a tuna purse seine. Allthough it seems primitive, this was how it was done in the early 1950’s. The fishing vessel gets a large catch and the catch is more than the vessel and the crew can handle. The captain calls for help, and when the film starts we can see that another vessel (named «Ådrott») has arrived. With one vessel on each side of the purse seine the crew lift the tuna out of the purse seine.

When a bluefin tuna dies it sinks, and the weight of the dead fish in a large catch could make it impossible to lift the purse seine and the fish to the surface. The force of the heavy purse seine could also be a danger to the purse seiner and the crew. That is why we can see that a third vessel and two motor boats starts to tow the purse seiner and the catch while the vessel «Ådrott» still helps to stabilize the weight in the purse seine.

The heavy purse seine, the purse seiner and the vessel «Ådrott» are towed towards land, and when reaching shallow waters the purse seine with all the dead tuna is rested on the bottom. Then we can see how the fishermen are «fishing» for dead tuna in the purse seine. We can see several smaller boats helping out, and this film is recorded by a man in one of the motorboats that assisted the purse seiner.

1952 was the best year for bluefin tuna fishing in Norway. Catches of several hundred fish were not unusual. The tuna seen on the film have an average weight of 120 kilogram. Unfortunately the number of fish in this catch is not known. The catch was loaded on several vessels and landed on different locations. It is still likely to believe that there must have been more than 200 bluefin tuna in the catch.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “A large catch of bluefin tuna in 1952”

  1. Steveon 31 jan 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Very interesting post. We sometimes forget how much everything has changed in just one lifetime. Keep up the good work with your blog. It is a great read.


  2. Nickon 12 feb 2010 at 2:36 pm

    One heck of a day! In Marco Island we routinely catch King Mackeral, Permit, Cobia, Shark, Barracuda, Grouper and Snapper. The Ten Thousand Islands are teeming with Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Pompano, Snapper, among many others! Check out the gallery if you please: http://www.wildthingcharters.com/fishinggallery/index.php

  3. Jameson 24 mar 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Fantastic footage

  4. Danon 23 apr 2011 at 10:12 am

    How is it that the tuna die in the purse seine? Is it from the confinement?

  5. adminon 25 apr 2011 at 11:14 am

    Hi Dan!
    The bluefin tuna need to filtrate a lot of seawater in order to get enough oxygen. Therefore the tuna need to move (speed). As the purse seine is hauled in the space for the tuna is getting smaller. The tuna will then panic and try to break through the net. Then they will faint (due to lack of oxygen) and «drown». The tuna will then sink to the bottom of the purse seine (as seen in the film above). See http://afishblog.com/?p=93

  6. Luís Pinto Carvalhoon 30 jun 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Click purseinerlife.blogspot.com
    The life aboard the portuguese purse seiner Luís Adrião, from Sesimbra harbour.