A yellowfin tuna tagged nine years ago off the South Carolina coast was caught last year along West Africa near Mauritania, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has learned. The tagged fish weighed just less than 15 pounds when it was initially captured, tagged and released on April 20, 2001, by a volunteer worker as part of the SCDNR’s gamefish tagging program, the agency said. It was tagged just south of the Bahamas’ Cat Island.
SCDNR received the tag from the National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries in Shizuoka, Japan, which logged the fish in at 68 inches and approximately 189 pounds.
The fish was initially tagged by a volunteer angler participating in the Marine Division's game fish tagging program on April 20, 2001 just south of Cat Island in the Bahamas. At the time of tagging, the juvenile yellowfin was just shy of 15 pounds.
This is the first recapture of a yellowfin tuna in the history of the program, which began in 1974.
"What makes this recovery exciting is that 151 yellowfin have been tagged and released by volunteers, but none have been recovered until now,” said Robert Wiggers, a fisheries biologist who administers the tagging program. "This fish was at large for nine years, packed on about 174 pounds and was recaptured close to 4,000 miles from where it was initially tagged."