September 19 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 14, 2014
An architect who discovered a rare bluefin tuna while on holiday in Cornwall – capturing the attention of the nation’s media – says she was disappointed not be able to cook and eat the 300lb creature.
Charlotte Chambers found the dead fish floating in the water while kayaking with four friends off the village of Kingsand on Saturday.
Photos of the group and the huge 7ft 1in carcass were then published by several national newspapers – alongside astonishing claims that its flesh could be worth up to £1million.
The friends had already given away the massive fish when they learned of its potential value.
Yet rather than lamenting any lost fortune, Ms Chambers was more upset about not getting to taste her catch.
The 24-year-old, of Parliament Hill, South End Green, told the Ham&High: “I really wanted a tuna steak!
“I just expected to go out in the village afterwards and all the pubs would be advertising ‘tuna steak night’.”
Last year, a Japanese sushi restaurant paid £1.05million for a 489lb specimen – but it is illegal to catch or sell bluefin tuna in Britain.
Stocks of the endangered species have fallen by 90 per cent since the 1970s due to overfishing.
The architect added: “I’ll never look at tuna in the same way.
“Now whenever I eat tuna I’ll feel a bit sad – because I should have eaten that one!”
The friends, who met at Oxford Brookes University, first thought it was a shark after spotting a large fin poking out of the water.
A crowd formed as they dragged it ashore – including locals who then started to gut the beast as it lay on the beach.
Ms Chambers, a former pupil of Parliament Hill School, said: “People were coming and measuring it and everyone seemed to be all over it.
“At first it was funny, but people started getting agitated and it was quite stressful.
“One guy brought a knife and started slicing it open on the beach.
“They took the heart out – it was really gross.”
She added: “I was hoping they could take it and cut it up, and we could eat it first.”
The group gave their find to a fisherman, who later handed it to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
Matt Slater, marine awareness officer for the trust, said: “It was gutted by a fisherman who was going to take it away and use it as crab bait.
“He was persuaded to donate it and it is now at the University of Exeter.
“It’s being held there in a big freezer where it will be use for research and educational purposes.
“We’re grateful to the girls for finding it.”
Mr Slater added that it would have been dangerous to eat a bluefin tuna steak because the fish can contain high levels of mercury.
Ms Chambers added: “I think it’s great it’s gone to research, but I’m a little disappointed no-one’s eating it.
“It seems like a waste.”