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, and 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 in, 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 July 1st and close on November 12th

Experienced charter skippers can apply to join the 2024 Tuna CHART programme between May 2nd and May 8th by completing an online application form.


For media queries contact: John Lawrence Communications Manager, Inland Fisheries Ireland/ [email protected] / 087 138 4945 

About Atlantic bluefin tuna 
Atlantic bluefin tuna are highly migratory and travel long distances in search of food and spawning grounds. The tuna frequent Irish coastal waters to feed during its migration through North Atlantic waters. It averages 2m in length in Irish seas, but can surpass lengths of 4m, weigh more than 600kg, and live up to 32 years.
Background to Tuna CHART (Catch And Release Tagging), an Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme
This data collection programme on Atlantic bluefin tuna began in 2019.  Almost 1,900 of the largest tuna in the world have been successfully tagged and released in Irish coastal waters through the programme since it commenced. Two bluefin were recaptured last year as part of the programme.

The Tuna CHART programme is a collaborative data collection programme between 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 of the Environment, Climate and Communications. See more on the programme here. It is part of a wider International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas tagging programme, and the data contributes to Atlantic bluefin tuna stock status assessments.