Bluefin tuna caught and tagged in NI research first

Bluefin tuna caught and tagged in NI research first

A two-metre long tuna has been caught and tagged between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island as part of an Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute) and DAERA initiative.

The NI CHART (CatcH And Release Tuna) programme, which was launched in September, is looking at feasibility of a recreational, tag and release bluefin tuna fishery in Northern Ireland waters.

Locals have been reporting bluefin tuna sightings off the north and east coast of Northern Ireland over the last few years in the late summer, through autumn and winter, but little is known about their distribution.

There are five skippers licenced in the current pilot programme, targeting bluefin from sea angling boats and collecting data both independently and by hosting scientific observers on board, to learn more about bluefin tuna off Northern Ireland.

The first NI CHART tuna was tagged using a traditional floy tag, a long, narrow, brightly coloured external tag with a unique reference number, inserted just below the second dorsal fin.

Its tag can be easily noticed and identified if recaught and should be reported to AFBI via

The skipper of the Torra, Davy Frayne said the fish was “in great condition and it was great to get the first fish tagged and released successfully”.