West Cork charter angling vessels to participate in Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme

While there is no sport or commercial fishery for Bluefin tuna in Ireland, authorisations are being granted for 22 charter angling vessels to participate in Tuna CHART (Catch and Release Tagging) a Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme. The programme will see 22 authorised skippers catch, tag, measure and release Atlantic Bluefin tuna for data collection purposes off the Irish coast.

A tagged Bluefin Tuna in Donegal Bay. Atlantic Bluefin tuna is the largest tuna and can reach a weight of over 600kg, a length of over three metres and live for more than thirty years. It migrates past the Irish coastline during its journey from the Mediterranean and the Central Atlantic.

The authorised vessels, five of which are located in West Cork, with more in east Cork, Clare, Galway, Sligo and Donegal will support an international scientific programme to increase knowledge of the behaviour and abundance of Bluefin Tuna in Irish waters and across its distribution generally.

The new programme, which has been developed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute in partnership with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, will operate again in 2020 having commenced on a pilot basis in 2019.

Eamon Ryan TD, Minister with responsibility for inland fisheries said: “The 22 angling vessels authorised by my Department, increased from 15 last year, will contribute substantially to essential Bluefin tuna data collection as they migrate along the Irish coastline. The recreational fisheries sector is crucial in the delivery of this research programme and we look forward to continue working with all the State agencies involved. I want to acknowledge the key role of the authorised charter skippers and their crews who are bringing their unique expertise to bear on providing valuable data for scientific purposes, and the ‘citizen scientist’ anglers who will catch the fish. The fact that 209 fish were tagged last year with no mortalities is a great achievement by the skippers.”

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and Inland Fisheries Ireland will undertake inspections and patrols around the coast to ensure this remains a strictly controlled programme. Anglers wishing to engage in this programme must only do so on a sea angling vessel specifically authorised to participate in the pilot programme. A full list of authorised skippers can be found atfisheriesireland.ie/bluefin.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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