Maine fisherman’s accidental 600-pound tuna catch benefits soup kitchen

A Maine fishing crew’s accidental catch of a 600-pound tuna became about 350 servings of food for a local soup kitchen.

Ross Alex, captain of the Kathryn Ann, said he and his crew were fishing for lobster bait off the coast of Belfast when their nets captured something unexpected.

“We saw some fish kind of popping off the surface, so we were getting ready to set, and we made our set and kind of hauled our net back. The fish went gone. We were like, ‘Where did they go?’ We got our net, like, three-quarters of the way back, and there was a tuna,” Alex told WABI-TV.

Alex said the vessel was not licensed to catch bluefin tuna, so they attempted to free the large fish, but determined it was too entangled in the nets to revive.

Jamie Steeves, owner of J&J Lobsters, contacted the Maine Marine Patrol to explain the situation. Steeve’s contact made the necessary calls to get the boat’s crew permission to harvest and donate the tuna.

Doug Shartzer, a friend of Steeves, was summoned to butcher the fish and arrange for it to be donated to the Belfast Soup Kitchen.

Officials at the soup kitchen said the 600-pound tuna became about 350 servings of food delivered to the community on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the people of Waldo County, for us to be able to give them this through Belfast Soup Kitchen,” said Cherie Merrill, executive director of the Belfast Soup Kitchen.