Australian bluefin tuna range up to about 600 pounds. So, when 17-year old Ryan Gazzola from Victoria landed a 298-pound bluefin on Sept. 3 after a four-hour battle, no one thought much about the record books.
But it turns out that Gazzola’s first bluefin tuna at nearly 6-foot long definitely is a noteworthy bluefin tuna catch.
“I was looking at it while they were cutting up the meat,” Gazzola told 9News Melbourne after spotting an orange tag in the fish. “I cut the tag out to have a look at it and after that it was something unbelievable.”
Gazzola said he contacted Fishing Tasmania and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which placed the tag in the bluefin. He learned that the fish was tagged when it was less than two feet long – 29 years ago, reported 9News.
According to CSIRO, it’s longest time any tagged bluefin tuna has been documented free-ranging at sea by a tag return in Australia. The nearly 6-foot-long fish was tagged as a 20-inch juvenile in Western Australia 29 years ago.
Gazzola caught his fish aboard the Mornington Peninsula charter boat while fishing with friends near Gunnamatta Beach, south of Melbourne.
According to CSIRO, most tagged Australian tuna are caught again within five years. Further, the agency says most bluefins live to only 15 years, with an occasional fish aging to 25 years. So Gazzola’s bluefin is ancient, according to tag-return research by CSIRO.
Scientists from CSIRO have taken the fish’s head for research, but Gazzola will have the tuna tail mounted to adorn a wall in his home.