PORTLAND played host to a rare maritime “visitor” when a multi-thousand-dollar tuna tag washed up near Swan Lake last week.
The data storage satellite, worth up to $5000, was located about 22.5 kilometres east of the South Australia border — just four metres from where scientists told Portland fisheries officials it would be.
The tag was one of two attached to tuna at Eaglehawk Neck near the bottom of Tasmania about two months ago.
Portland’s Bob McPherson said the devices had been timed to dislodge after 50 to 60 days.
“One tuna got eaten, maybe by a shark,” he said.
“Contrary to all scientific predictions, the other ended up here.
“This fish was only about one metre long.
“Traditionally the tags are allocated to tuna weighing 80 to 100 kilos.”
The recreational fisherman said the tag was about the size of an egg and contained scientific data which helped monitor the trends of the endangered bluefin tuna, including travel patterns, depth and speed.
Being near a tag when it dislodges is rare, according to Mr McPherson, who said the costs associated made tagging an infrequent practice.
He said the government supplied tags, which act like GPS systems, were used at different intervals to keep tabs on the multi-billion-dollar bluefin tuna industry.
“This is the first one that we know of (in this area),” Mr McPherson said yesterday.
“Very few people have ever seen one.”
Mr McPherson said tuna tagging had taken place around Portland a number of years ago, with tagged fish found in waters at the bottom of South Africa several months later.
Other tagging locations include Bermagui in New South Wales and Greymouth in New Zealand.