No woman in New Zealand has caught a bigger fish than this giant Pacific bluefin tuna that New Zealand-based (Auckland) Donna Pascoe reeled in recently after an epic four-hour battle – and she may have also landed herself a fishing world record! What you see in the video footage above captured by Donna herself is exactly what happened in the moment… unexpected, live, and highly surprising to all the team on the boat.
Pascoe, an experienced angler who runs a fishing charter business, hooked the 411kg fish from her 17m boat ‘Gladiator’ near the Three Kings Islands off Cape Reinga in New Zealand. The sea was rough and the wind strong when her reel started shedding line about 9am.
“I went and grabbed the rod and jumped into the chair,” she told us.
“We had no idea what it was because it never jumped or showed its face. We thought it could have been a massive blue or black marlin … but it never crossed our minds that it could be a huge bluefin tuna!”
The team on board who all witnessed this unique moment on the day were Ken Pascoe, Nathan Carr-Clarke and Paddy Bahone. They await confirmation for a world record to be verified soon by the International Game Fish Association.
The crew are all members of the ‘Houhora Big Game & Sports Fishing Club’ and a spokesperson from the club also lauded Pascoe for her catch:
”Congratulations to the crew of ‘Gladiator’ and especially to club member Donna Pascoe for her mammoth effort of just over four hours to land this massive tuna weighing 411.6kg…. The fish was caught at the Three Kings in 35 knots of wind and weather. Awesome effort Donna, Ken and your crew!”
Pascoe said she didn’t feel the pain in her limbs until the battle was over:
“I was so excited that my arms and legs could have fallen off and I wouldn’t have noticed,” she said. “I think adrenaline is a great thing and it certainly kept me going.”
We asked Donna about whether she may feel this recent catch could invoke any negative reactions from animal rights or conservation groups as this was one of our immediate concerns upon viewing the video in particular:
“I was actually contacted after the catch by Pew Charitable Trust out of Washington DC who are a conservation group wanting to save the pacific bluefin tuna and they have asked me to assist them in advocating for governments to do the right thing and enact science-based management measures for Pacific Bluefin tuna. This is for the juvenile breeding stock of the species, not the big old fish” she told us.
“Genuine conservation groups realise it is not the recreational fishermen/women who are causing damage but just the opposite, they are keen to preserve the breeding stocks so there are more big fish in our ocean for the recreational fishermen.”
Recreationally caught bluefin is prohibited by law from commercial sale.
The Guavo team quibbled for some time over this news release from our side and felt that this can be a unique attempt by us to encourage an international media debate around fishing practices and conservation issues worldwide as whole and so far it seems we have been successful in raising the concerns and conversations around this. One of the key issues involved is when a global industry of consumers continue to keep the industry thriving, this debate often gets mixed conclusions.
OUR OFFICIAL STANCE ON THIS after discussing this in great detail amongst our team:
Worth bearing in mind that this incident is something that happened very much in the moment and by chance was captured on video and photo for all to see… the real issues around conservation we feel lie in fishing industry practices and is a much wider process of where changes are required to be addressed by corporations who make considerable revenues from large-scale practices as opposed to the recreational fishermen and women on the seas such as Donna and her crew. We did feel that there was a slightly uncomfortable element to this story where on a basic level it can rightly or wrongly be perceived as a group of humans celebrating whilst a helpless animal has just lost it’s life. The questions we would then ask, is this an intentional assertion of dominance over an animal, or does this then address the whole Vegetarian vs Carnivore debate, or Hippy vs Liberal stance. In nature, many species are also carnivorous whilst others by nature live on plant-based diets… does this make one species better than the other? We also questioned what aspect of this incident in particular made us feel a little uncomfortable… was it the fact that this is a large animal and so we feel more inclined to feel sentiments towards it? Would we feel the same if this was just an average sized fish? Many of us have walked past a sushi bar or a fish market and seen quantities of fish on display, many of which were caught by someone that very day. So the next time we tuck into a tuna sandwich, or enjoy some sushi or some fish and chips from the local chippie… we will be reminded that in fact every single catch has been similarly executed in order to take the fish from the sea and reach onto our plates. And for now as a result of this news feature… that’s food for thought for us all!” (Vin Sharma)
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Photo / Video credits: Paddy Bohane / Donna Pascoe