15 Irish skippers participate in bluefin tuna tagging programme

  1st August 2019

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Fifteen skippers will participate in the first bluefin tuna tagging programme of its kind in Irish waters. As we first reported back in February , Tuna CHART (CatcH And Release Tagging) is a science-based catch, tag and release fishery for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) which recreational anglers can legally take part it. This pilot scheme will complement the work on satellite tagging of bluefin that is currently being undertaken by the Marine Institute. The developments have been widely welcomed within the angling community across the country with many advocating that bluefin are worth infinitely more when caught and released as opposed to being targeted by commercial fisheries, especially for rural economies .

All skippers were subject to a screening process by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and successful applicants had to undergo training on how to tag and release bluefin safely before authorisation was granted. The authorised skippers and their vessels are located in various ports in counties Cork, Clare, Galway, Sligo and Donegal. The fifteen successful applicants are as follows:

Skipper nameCharter and vessel nameHome port
Adrian MolloyDeep Blue Killybegs, Co.Donegal
Brian McGillowayMeridian Killybegs, Co.Donegal
Donal McMenaminTór Mor Killybegs, Co.Donegal
Michael CallaghanLEAH-C Killybegs, Co.Donegal
Declan KilgannonM/V Kiwi Girl Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
Peter PowerProspector Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
Daryl EwingSarah Marie Rosses Point, Sligo
John BrittainBluewater Cleggan, Co. Galway
Luke AstonClare Dragoon Carrigaholt, Co. Clare
Sean MaguireLady Gwen II Kilbaha, Co. Clare
Kieran CollinsRADIANCE Baltimore, Co.Cork
Tom CollinsLoch an Iasc Reen, Union Hall
Carroll O’DonoghueHARPY Kinsale, Co. Cork
David EdwardsSilver Dawn Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Mark GannonLady Louise Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork

All of these vessels will be monitored by Fisheries Observers who will be on board the vessels throughout the season, with authorisation valid from mid-August until mid-October 2019. This will be a strictly controlled fishery operating on a pilot basis, with both the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and IFI undertaking inspections and patrols around the coast. Any unauthorised skippers found targeting bluefin tuna will be prosecuted and any authorised people acting outside the conditions of the authorisation or the fisheries acts will also have the authorisation revoked and be subject to legal action.

The main purpose of the programme is to collect valuable data on bluefin in Irish waters, which will be used to inform future management. Fish will be targeted and brought alongside the boat quickly for tagging, (remaining in the water at all times), to ensure healthy fish are released. Detailed data collection is required for each angling trip targeting bluefin and for each tuna encountered or missed. Skippers will be responsible for managing the angling, tagging, recording and submitting detailed data for each trip (including blank days). Participating anglers will also be asked to take part in a socio-economic survey.

Anglers may participate in the fishery by booking places on one of the above-listed authorised vessels (links included).