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Irish Marine Science Programme Set to Catch, Tag and Release Hundreds of the World’s Largest Tuna in 2024

4th May 2024
A bluefin tuna caught, tagged and released in the Atlantic in September last year as part of 2022’s Tuna CHART programme
A bluefin tuna caught, tagged and released in the Atlantic in September last year as part of 2022’s Tuna CHART programme

Applications have opened for experienced angling skippers to catch and release Atlantic bluefin tuna as part of a collaborative scientific survey.

The initiative targets Atlantic bluefin tuna — the world’s largest tuna species — to collect information on their sizes, and where and when they occur in Irish waters.

The programme saw recaptures for the first time in 2023 as well as changes in the size of the fish encountered, providing useful and positive data on this iconic and tightly managed species.

Recreational angling for Atlantic bluefin tuna is technically prohibited in Ireland.

Unauthorised vessels are not permitted to target or catch bluefin tuna and any unauthorised person found to be targeting bluefin tuna is liable to prosecution.

However, under the Tuna CHART (CatcH And Release Tagging) programme, authorised charter vessel skippers can catch, tag and release bluefin during the open season, with the help of anglers on board.

Skippers will be required to have high-specification rods, reels and lines to ensure that each bluefin tuna is brought alongside the vessel for tagging in a timely manner, prior to their subsequent release.

In previous years all tuna were carefully managed, subject to strict guidelines set by the Tuna CHART programme, and all were released alive. In 2023, the programme recorded:

  • Two recaptures of tagged Atlantic bluefin tuna for the first time
  • A total of 381 bluefin tagged
  • 239 bluefin tuna angling trips undertaken
  • 4.5 bluefin caught per trip in the most successful week

In 2024, a maximum of 25 authorisations may be granted to qualifying angling charter vessel skippers around the Irish coast. This fishery will open on 1 July and close on 12 November.

Experienced charter skippers can apply to join the 2024 Tuna CHART programme until this Wednesday 8 May by completing the online application form. Team

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