Taipei, April 19 (CNA) The first bluefin tuna caught this year in Taiwan waters was sold for NT$900,000 (US$30,521) at an auction in Yilan County on Thursday
The 360 kilogram fish, caught near Yonaguni off western Japan, was bought by a restaurant owner surnamed Chen in the northeastern county at a price of NT$2,500 per kilogram.
The bluefin tuna was caught Tuesday by a fishing boat registered in Suao Township.
"I was overwhelmed with the joy when I caught the fish, it was like a gift from the heaven!" said the fishing boat skipper Chiu chin-lung.
Chiu said the catch was a surprise because when he set out Tuesday, he was fishing for yellowfin tuna and belt fish.
Although some fishing boats from Pingtung County in southern Taiwan had brought in bluefin tuna caught earlier in waters east of Palau, their catch did not qualify as "the first of the year" because of the weight and areas where they were taken, said Chen Chun-sheng, director of the Suao Fishermen's Association.
April to July is the peak season for bluefin tuna, a speciality in Suao Township and Donggang Township in Pingtung County.
(By Worthy Shen and Maia Huang)