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Feds Seize 881-Pound Bluefin Tuna

Fishing boat accidentally caught it in net, which is illegal
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2011 6:04 PM CST
Feds Confiscate Fisherman's 881-Pound Bluefin Tuna
This Nov. 12 photo released by NOAA and provided by Stephanie Rafael shows fishing boat owner Carlos Rafael in New Bedford, Mass., with an 881-pound tuna.   (AP Photo/NOAA)

(Newser) – A Massachusetts fisherman nearly caught a fortune in the form of an 881-pound bluefin tuna, but it's now the property of the US government. A fishing boat owned by Carlos Rafael snagged the massive fish inadvertently in its trawling net, reports the Standard-Times of New Bedford. It could have been a huge payday considering that a 754-pound specimen sold for nearly $400,000 in Tokyo earlier this year.

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Rafael called a "bluefin tuna hot line" to report the catch—the fish is closely regulated because of shrinking numbers—and soon was met by agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. They confiscated the bluefin because it was caught in a net instead of with a rod and reel. It will now be sold overseas, and Rafael might not see a cent. However, an NOAA official says the proceeds will be kept in an account until the case is fully investigated. (Read more bluefin tuna stories.)

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