MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Mystery of 200-pound bluefin tuna washed up on Orcas Island finally begins to unravel

Oct 9, 2023, 6:40 AM | Updated: 7:04 am

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

We’re learning new information about the mysterious bluefin tuna that washed up on Orcas Island over the summer.

That was the first time a bluefin had ever been documented in Salish Sea.



Afterwards, the Sea-Doc Society did a deep-dive investigation into this mystery, sending the tuna up to Friday Harbor Laboratories. There, they were able to complete a full necropsy to determine how it died, and how it ended up in the Salish Sea in the first place.

“Bluefin are not wired to understand tides,” said Friday Harbor Laboratories Associate Director Adam Summers. “They’re not really even wired to understand shorelines.”

“These are fast swimmers,” he added. “And so very, very rapidly they could’ve ended up in the San Juan Islands and then been just completely puzzled.

With sand and gravel found in its gills, they determined this tuna likely got caught in the low tide before eventually beaching itself.

The bluefin was otherwise in perfect health, and a local was even able to harvest 45 pounds for sushi that he used to feed his friends all summer.



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Mystery of 200-pound bluefin tuna washed up on Orcas Island finally begins to unravel