The Kingsand tuna

Residents of Kingsand were shocked in July 2014 when a large Atlantic Bluefin tuna washed up on the village beach.

The endangered fish, measuring 2.17m, was found floating in waist-deep water by a group of young women on holiday who had gone out kayaking. It was in perfect condition, almost as if it had died only minutes before.

Sarah Little, 22, Laura Pickervance, 23, Hannah Ford, 24, Shauna Creamer, 23 and Charlotte Chambers, 24, were stunned by their find.

“At first we thought it was a shark”, said Sarah. “It was so heavy it took four of us to drag it onto the kayak”.

The story was featured in all the national papers and around the world, after the fish was (wrongly) reported to be worth over £1 million.

At first the girls had hoped to sell the fish, which was wrongly identified as a less-endangered yellowfin tuna. However, this was not possible since it had washed up dead and was not landed by anybody with the right licence. 

It was gutted (and found to have a totally empty stomach), and almost ended up being chopped up as lobster pot bait by a local fisherman. Luckily it was saved in the nick of time after being identified as a rare Bluefin.

The fish was reported to the authorities and later transported to the University of Exeter (Falmouth), where it was autopsied at a public event in November 2014. Tissue samples were sent away to glean further information about its age and chemical burden. 

You can watch a short film about it below


In August, local fisherman Paul Woods caught another member of the tuna family, a bonito. Several other bonito catches were reported throughout the summer.

Although rare because they are endangered, Bluefin tuna are regular visitors to UK waters, sometimes travelling as far north as Iceland.

These extraordinary fish can swim at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, aided by the capacity to heat their muscles and eyes, and gills with an enormous surface area, enabling them to absorb large amounts of oxygen from the surrounding sea water.

Have you caught anything unusual? Please let us know!

Another tuna (probably not Bluefin) was videoed earlier in the summer swimming in Porthleven Harbour.