Bluefin Tuna In The Hebrides
The weather in the Hebrides was very odd this summer with continuous settled weather and calm seas offshore. This allowed outstanding spotting conditions and we had started to see strange wakes across the calm ocean. This indicated there was something big swimming just under the surface, unlike what we would normally see. We would see the wake for a few minutes then disappear. On another day offshore with glass calm conditions during August, Shane had the drone ready to go just in case we found the familiar wake pattern whilst searching for widlife.
We were all super excited when we saw it again and we had all our passengers keep eyes on the track while we sent up the drone! Unfortunately, it malfunctioned and had to return it quickly to the boat. In plucking it from the sky (before it went into the water!) Shane sliced a good part of end of his pinky off! With the boat splattered with blood, he was determined to get a view of the mysterious animal, so fixed the issue and sent it back up. We managed to capture an amazing clear view of a bluefin tuna - what an wonderful sight to see! We followed it for a while before it cruised off into the deep!
We did also have a number of tuna sightings during 2020, that summer still had good weather but not quite on the same level as 2021 - however this was a huge year for fish biomass and we have fish boil ups all over the islands. When we tell most people about seeing tuna, the usual response is one of wonder and amazement, but also that it's very rare and likely a result of climate change. However this is just an example of a modern sliding baseline - people are not used to unfamilier species that have declined and so they think they are an anmoly. However Bluefin used to very abundant in the NE Atlantic, unfortunately they were heavily fished through the 20th century and the population collapsed. This means they were absent from our shores for decades. There has been a documented recovery in recent years, and this could be one of the signs that they are starting to return to our waters once again. Bluefin can reach over 3m and weight over 700kg along with living till they are nearly 50! A truly fantastic fish! Let's hope we start to see them reguarly every summer now!