While the frigid Bering sea waters is the greatest threat to the crab fishermen we’ve all become acquainted with in the last three years on Discovery’s Deadliest Catch, the tuna wranglers who ply the much warmer ocean waters off the Southern Australian coast face a danger I have yet to see any commercial fishermen contend with. And that of course, is sharks. It was both shocking to learn and mesmerizing to see that when a shark tears through the massive net containing trapped tuna, a trained fisherman/diver has to actually dive down into the contained tuna area and literally wrestle the shark until said shark decides it’s had enough of this hand to hand combat, and leaves through the same hole it came in. Just how much does that position pay? Pretty interesting stuff.
It looks like the Blue Fin Tuna season runs all year, but the purse seine fishery that we witnessed in the new mini series, Tuna Wranglers, runs from January through March…”The SBT fishing year runs from 1 December to 30 November each year. For the purse seine fishery, fishing for grow out farms occurs from January – March. Longlining for SBT occurs primarily in winter months off Southern NSW and to a lesser extent off southern WA”
While it certainly doesn’t have the depth or excitement of the most excellently developed fan favorite, Deadliest Catch, the first episode of Tuna Wranglers seems promising in that much like the previously mentioned Deadliest Catch, it introduces many of us to a part of this world we’re not so familiar with. Who would have thought really, that fishing for tuna involved not only the actual tuna fishing vessel, but a floating aquarium that basically heads out to deep waters with the sole purpose of throwing baitfish in tuna infested waters to guide them towards the tuna catching boat. And prior to the baiting and rounding up of tuna, a spotter plane flys out to sea and spots the large shadows that tuna schools create. After the tuna is “wrangled” into their initial netting, yet another vessel is on the scene with a permanent caged nettings that is used to haul in the harvest and house them for several months while they are fattened up.
Who would have ever thought tuna fishing was such an interesting and complex process? The premier episode of the 2-part mini series aired August 9th at 1opm eastern and the second episode airs on the 16th. There will be repeats towards the end of this month.