A 703-pound bluefin tuna landed aboard the fishing vessel Capitaine Simon was the biggest tuna caught this year.
The largest bluefin caught in the fishing area known as the Hell Hole was a 406-pound tuna aboard the vessel John Harold.
The award for most overall weight for tuna caught went to the boat Jasmine et Lexie with 929 pounds.
Yvon Boudreau was the captain of the crew that sailed on the Capitaine Simon. He said it took about 45 minutes to get the tuna on board.
“We left Tuesday evening (Aug. 22) going right to what we call the Hell Hole, between Browns and Georges Bank, and we had no luck there,” said Boudreau. He said everyone on the boat decided the afternoon of Aug. 24 to sail to German Bank instead.
“We got there 1:30 a.m., at 5:30 a.m. we hooked on and at 6:15 a.m. it was aboard,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to be that big. We had estimated about 550 pounds, according to the chart that they give us.”
In addition to Yvon Boudreau, the crew on the Capitaine Simon included Richard LeBlanc, Blair Boudreau, Réal Boudreau, George Cottreau, Albert Gaudet, Eric Vacon, Dr. David Webster and father and son Jimmy and Michel d'Entremont.
From 1935 to the mid-1960s, Wedgeport was known as the sport tuna fishing capital of the world. In 1937, Wedgeport saw the birth of the International Tuna Cup Match. Some 28 different countries participated in these international matches. The tournaments ended in 1976.
In 2004 a tournament was revived.
There is a commercial tuna fishery off southwestern Nova Scotia and each year the South West Nova Tuna Association allots 3,200 pounds of its bluefin tuna quota to the tournament. Therefore what is landed during the tournament is still within the bluefin commercial fishery quota.
Sixteen boats took part in this year’s tournament. Fishermen are also able to catch other species of tuna, including big eye, yellowfin and albacore, but when a bluefin is caught – and each boat is allowed only one bluefin – that boat must stop fishing.
There were 68 tuna caught during the tournament: 16 bluefin, 9 big eye, 41 albacore, 2 yellowfin. The overall total weight was 9,793 pounds. You can see more breakdowns about the catch on the Wedgeport Tuna Tournament and Festival Facebook page.
Buyers purchase the tuna for markets, with money raised supporting the Wedgeport Tuna Museum.
The tournament is part of a week-long festival. Other activities included a 5K and 10K run, a trivia night, a vendor fair and yard sale, a wine and cheese, a herring toss, a junior fishing derby, a scavenger hunt, a seafood extravaganza and musical entertainment. This year’s tuna queen was Gwen Deveau, with 1st princess being Anna d'Entremont and 2nd princess & Miss Congeniality being Lily Swim.