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Ibiza sending sushi to Japan

The Hunt for Red Tuna.

One of the most prized fish for making sushi and sashimi is the enormous red tuna which fetch an average of €30 per kilo on the market. Every year these gigantic fish - a 200 kilo specimen could net (if you'll pardon the pun) €7000 - run past Ibiza on their annual migration through the Mediterranean.

Naturally, with cash like this to be made, their presence along the route from Gibraltar to Malta attracts the attention of large specialised fishing fleets, many from Alicante who follow and pick off the tuna as they migrate. Unfortunately, the temptation to over-fish was too great – fishing fleets used planes to guide them to the shoals - and tuna numbers decreased so much that by 2006 they were in danger of dying out in the Med.

Then an accord was reached by France and Spain to patrol the migration routes and regulate the number of fish being caught and since then, the numbers of tuna have recuperated almost to their old levels. Now is the time that the tuna run past Ibiza and Formentera and a Spanish navy vesel, the Arnomendi, has been on duty for a fortnight's intense work in Formentera.

She called into Ibiza briefly on Monday for a quick break for the crew and to allow interested visitors to board the ship, before setting off for waters near Tarragona, the tuna's next destination. During his brief stay the captain said that the ship had made 39 inspections of fishing boats of which 7 had resulted in fines of 'several thousand Euros' for over fishing.

He also said that the Mediterranean red tuna caught near Formentera was the most prized fish in Japanese cuisine and was much preferred to those caught in the Gulf of Mexico. So how about that? We want the Japanese to come here, and they want our tuna, sounds like a fair swap.

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