What a whopper rescue! Salmon farmers leap into action to save 47-stone tuna

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Salmon farmers off a Hebridean island have rescued a huge Pacific blue fin tuna after it appeared in one of their pens.

Staff at the Marine Harvest salmon farm at Colonsay have become used to seeing a lot of marine wildlife, but were surprised when the fish, normally associated with warmer waters, appeared.

They estimate the three-metre tuna, which was discovered after unusual activity in their pens, weighed 300kg – more than 47 stone.

Farm manager Ali Geddes said: “We’d noticed a lot of activity around the southern part of the farm – there seemed to be a real feeding frenzy going on with the dolphins and porpoises.

“It’s now clear they were chasing a tuna. These things can move at real speed – up to 50mph – and it seems to have burst through the foot of the pen like a torpedo.

“Thankfully the tuna seems to be unhurt and none of our own fish have escaped.

“The hole the tuna made was more like a slash than a round hole and we called in divers who repaired it within a few hours.”

Atlantic blue fin tuna are common in Scottish waters, but Pacific blue fin tuna are incredibly rare as they prefer the warmer waters of the North and South Pacific oceans.

Salmon farmers used a panel net to capture the tuna, which is normally used during harvesting as it allows smaller fish to swim through the gaps.

A landing craft crane was then used to lift the tuna into a large basket for transfer to the open sea where it happily swam away.

Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland said: “It could have been a very different story and it’s testament to their skills that this beautiful fish is still alive and well.”

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