Tuna caught in the wild in Canada can weigh up to 2.8 tonnes, but many catch-and-release programs in the region only catch up to a few tonnes.
As of now, it’s difficult to determine if any of those catch-at-home programs have been effective.
In the northern part of the province, fisheries manager Scott McComb said, catch- and release programs were successful in the last few years, but it’s not yet clear how much fish will be left in the fisheries once it’s been harvested.
The fishery has become an issue in recent years as a result of the fishers’ increasing reliance on fish-fishing methods that are not sustainable for them.
“We’re going to have to figure out a way to manage the fisherys and how they’re going forward,” McComb told CBC News.
“Tuna catches are very large in the northern parts of our province.”
The catch-on-reel approach is known as catch-adventure and involves using traps, nets and the bait baited with a live bait.
It works best when the fish is relatively young and relatively large, McComb added.
“There’s no need to catch every fish you can get,” he said.
“The biggest issue is the lack of space and the amount of food that is being released.”
The fish that are caught are then released in the fall, usually a few days before harvest time.
But McComb also cautioned that the catch-up approach is not always successful, and the catch rates are lower than other areas of the country.
“In the past, it was pretty successful, but there are a lot of variables involved, like the temperature, the density of the water, the amount and type of fish,” he explained.
“It’s just not a very reliable system.”
In the past two decades, the fisherists have taken more and more action to reduce the amount they’re releasing.
“They’ve worked very hard to reduce their releases to the point where now they’re less than half of what they were,” said McComb.
“But we have to be careful about what we’re releasing because that’s going to affect the population of the fish.”
The fisheries manager also said there is a “dramatic increase” in the number of fish caught in Canada’s north.
“At this point in time, it looks like we have probably over 10 per cent of the world’s population of Atlantic cod, which is the main source of food for us,” he told CBC.
“That’s the problem.”
McComb pointed out that while the fisherry is able to catch as many fish as they want, it can be difficult to manage their catch and release processes.
“This year we released about half the fish we normally do,” he added.
He also warned that catching more fish is not a sustainable way of managing the fisherries.
“I don’t think we can just continue to keep at it,” he suggested.
“As long as the fishermans are relying on catch-in-home, catch up, catch catch-the-boat, and that’s the way they’re doing it, that’s just going to lead to more fish, and more fish will go to the bottom of the ocean.”