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Published on 04 Apr 2014 | over 2 years ago

It could be worth up to $ 2million, make 2,875 sandwiches, and has been hailed a 'Picasso of the sea'... but Donna Pascoe wants to stuff her record-breaking tuna catch and hang it on her wall.
The game fisherwoman battled for more than four hours the 411.6kg (64 stone) Pacific bluefin before finally reeling in the high-speed leviathan - thought to be the largest ever caught with a rod and line.

She hooked the fish - which is twice the size of a tuna sold at a Japanese auction last year for $1.09million - using a 60lb line near the Three Kings Islands off Cape Reinga of New Zealand.

The experienced angler first suspected something fishy was going on when her line began to tug.

'The line was peeling out like it was attached to a freight train,' said Donna, of Auckland, New Zealand. 'As usual, I was pretty nervous that I might get spooled. Thankfully, the fish stopped running and I was able to get a bit of line back in.'

Unaware of the scale of her catch, Donna and her four-strong team battled for over four hours to drag the gargantuan 8ft 9' tuna onto her boat.

'It was a very stubborn fish, but I'm stubborn as well,' said Donna.

The wind had got up to gusts of 36 knots and I was getting drenched from the waves coming over the back of the boat.

'But I was determined to win this one. I knew we had to get the tuna on board before a shark came and bit a chunk out of it.

'We were all speculating what it was. No way did I think it was a tuna.'

After the 4 hour and 11 minute long battle, the fish was lifted on to the boat, with the help of the anchor winch.

She said: 'Once we got it on board, everybody's mouth dropped open. It was absolutely amazing.

'I was so excited that my arms and legs could have fallen off and I wouldn't have noticed. I think adrenalin is a great thing and it certainly kept me going.'

At 411.6kg, the fish weighs twice as much as a baby elephant and could fill 3162 cans of tuna.

It blows the current world record for a fish caught on a rod of 335kg out of the water.

Alistair Blair, chairman of The Fish Society, the largest online fish retailer in Britain, told MailOnline: 'The wholesale value of a bluefin tuna that size would be in the realm of $8,300 (£5,000) to $16,500 (£10,000) - that's about four times the value of an ordinary tuna. The retail value, of course, would be much higher - somewhere around $83,000 (£50,000) or more.'

Last year, however, a 222kg bluefin tuna sold for $1.09 million at a Tokyo auction. By that standard, Donna's fish could be worth up to $2 million at auction.

'People would be willing to pay a lot for a record-breaking fish,' added Mr Blair. 'If you have got a bit of that fish to serve at your banquet then you've got something pretty boast-worthy.

'So this would appeal only to people who are billionaires. It's the fish equivalent of buying a Picasso painting.'

He added that a whole bluefin tuna contains around 55 per cent of edible meat. That means it could make 1,769 tins of tuna (160g, brine drained), 2,875 tuna sandwiches or 511 dishes of tuna sashimi.

Donna, however, is unable to sell it because the fish wasn't caught on a commercial vessel.

Instead, she plans to have it mounted by a taxidermist at the Houhora Big Game & Sports Fishing Club in New Zealand.

Donna explained: 'We were originally going to have it smoked and shared around our friends, but then we were talked out of this as it was so monumental.'

Usually a fish is either stuffed with filler material like firmly packed sawdust or it is stretched over a mold and shaped into the desired pose. Donna has chosen to make a mold, but the pose, she says, is yet to be decided.

The enormous catch put Donna in first place in the tuna section for the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Nationals Competition.

She is now awaiting certification from the International Game Fish Association so she can claim the world record.

Bluefin are the world's largest tuna and can live for up to 40 years. Built for speed, they can dive up to 4,000 feet and have retractable fins so they can seek out schools of herring, mackerel and eels.

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