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DFO investigating deaths of tuna locally

CARIBOU – The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is investigating the death of bluefin tuna in local waters.

Krista Peterson, communications adviser for DFO, said dead bluefin tuna have been found on the shore and seen in the waters in the Pictou County area.

“Samples from one fish have been taken for analysis by DFO labs,” she said. “We cannot speculate as to the cause of the death of the tuna. Commercial and charter boat, or catch and release, tuna fisheries are currently underway in the Pictou area.”

A dead bluefin was buried last week after it washed up on the shore beside the Caribou Provincial Park. Several local fishermen told The News Friday that they had seen one more on the slip at the Caribou wharf and others have been spotted in the water. Fishermen say as many as five were dead.

Peterson said each year a certain number of bluefin tuna die as a result of the tuna fisheries, accidental catches in other fisheries or from natural causes.

The numbers being reported to DFO locally are within the scientific parameters established by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

The commercial tuna fishing industry is currently underway in local waters and operates on a quota system. Bluefin tuna are normally caught in the deeper waters around Ballantynes Cove, but local fishermen have reported seeing them while they were herring fishing off the coast of Caribou and Pictou Island.

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