The year of the bluefin tuna – 1952

The Second World War may have had a positive impact on the Eastern Atlantic stock of bluefin tuna. War at sea stopped the fishermen and the tuna could migrate to the spawning grounds and spawn in peace. This may be the reason why large shoals of young bluefin tuna was found outside the Norwegian coast in the early 1950’s. 1952 was an exceptional year for the Norwegian vessels fishing for tuna. Along the southwestern coast of Norway the sea was full of young tuna, weighing 50-70 kg.

Bluefin tuna 1952. Photo: Harald Hausken

The large shoals represented an adventure for the fishermen. Hundreds of tunas were trapped in each catch. Sometimes the seine could not hold the powerful fish, giving the crew a lot of work repairing the seine.

607 bluefin tunas. Photo: Harry Bentsen

Off the coast of Haugesund the bluefin tuna made the sea boil. On the photo above you can see the result from a catch of 607 tunas.

Helping vessel loading tuna

A seiner with a nice catch in 1952. An other vessel assists the seiner. Further north in Norway larger tuna were caught. Also in 1954 young tuna visited Norway. The shoals then came to the southeastern coast (near Oslo). This tuna was very small – only 20-40 kg, suggesting a strong class from 1950. 1954 was the last year small tuna migrated to the Norwegian coast. Bluefin tuna from those strong classes kept coming to Norway each summer, and leaving the coast in October. In the 1970’s the same fish was weighing 250-350 kg. As the years went by the strong classes were fished down and that put an end to the tuna fishery in Norway.

Related post: Tagging bluefin tuna in Norway 

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