Retired Army General's 877-Pound Bluefin Tuna Smashes State Record

Scott Chambers, pictured kneeling on the left, broke a state record for the largest bluefin tuna catch after he reeled in one weighing 877 pounds. North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

A gigantic bluefin tuna hauled onto the shore in North Carolina has shattered a state record and put a retired Army general's name into the ledger.

Scott Chambers, who is a lawyer in Delaware, reeled in an 877-pound tuna in March, and this week it was certified as a state record for the largest bluefin catch. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries said the record-breaking fish was about 9.5 feet long from its mouth to the fork in its tail, and its girth—the distance around its widest point—was 79 inches.

Chambers pulled in the creature "after fighting with the fish for 2.5 hours," according to the department.

The catch happened on March 17, but the state record was only confirmed on Monday to have been certified to make his haul official.

It is a record for a recreational catch—commercial fisherman may have pulled in larger fish than this, but they are not eligible for this title.

Chambers's catch happened off Oregon Inlet, which is in North Carolina's Outer Banks region, after he boarded a charter boat out of nearby Manteo.

According to the Division of Marine Fisheries, the previous state record-holder for a bluefin tuna was 72 pounds lighter than the one Chambers brought to shore. It had also been hooked in Oregon Inlet, in 2011.

The world record for a bluefin stands just shy of 1,500 pounds and it was caught in 1979 off Nova Scotia, the division said.

Bluefin is the biggest kind of tuna according to the World Wildlife Fund and is a migrating fish that can live for as long as 40 years. The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest bluefin species.

"Bluefin tuna are made for speed: built like torpedoes, have retractable fins and their eyes are set flush to their body," the WWF says. "They are tremendous predators from the moment they hatch, seeking out schools of fish like herring, mackerel and even eels. They hunt by sight and have the sharpest vision of any bony fish."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atlantic bluefin tuna on the coast of the U.S.—known as western Atlantic bluefin—can grow as big as 13 feet and 2,000 pounds.

It is a managed species, allowing for certain levels of recreational and commercial fishing.