1 Apr 2011

Bumper season for albacore tuna fishing

9:00 pm on 1 April 2011

The fishing industry says the albacore tuna season is heading towards being one of the best in years.

The season for the non-quota management system species, dubbed the chicken of the sea, runs from December to April each year.

About 200 fishermen trawl for the migratory tuna, mostly down the west coast of the South Island, as the tuna follow warm currents in the South Pacific.

The tuna manager for the export fishing company Talleys, Roger Burgess, puts the success of the season down to the El Nino weather pattern.

This year's El Nino has been the strongest since about 1989, he says, "and hence we've had a very, very good season".

Mr Burgess says the catch is mostly destined for the Mediterranean market.