22 charter angling vessels to participate in Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme

Press Release

Media release

22 charter angling vessels to participate in

Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme

Tagged Bluefin Tuna Donegal Bay 2019

Tagged Bluefin Tuna Donegal Bay 2019. Copyright Adrian Molloy

Monday, 13th of July 2020: 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.

The authorised vessels, which are located in 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.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Barry Cowen TD welcomed the continuation of the programme: “This initiative will allow the Marine Institute and Inland Fisheries Ireland to collect valuable data and improve our understanding of the migratory patterns of Bluefin tuna in Irish waters in a tightly controlled environment.  This project has been an excellent example of ongoing cooperation between both Departments, SFPA, IFI and the Marine Institute and I look forward to the continued development of this relationship.”

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.  Any person engaging in fishing for Bluefin Tuna on any vessel which is not appropriately authorised will be in breach of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction (Bluefin Tuna) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 265 of 2019). 

A full list of authorised skippers can be found at www.fisheriesireland.ie/bluefin .


For further information:

Sadhbh O’Neill

Communications Assistant

Inland Fisheries Ireland

E: sadhbh.oneill@fisheriesireland.ie

T: 01 8842632

Notes to Editors

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.

Background to Tuna CHART (CatcH and Release Tagging), a Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme

Previously, under International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) rules, Ireland could not allow targeted angling for the purpose of data collection for Bluefin tuna. The changes secured by Ireland at the ICCAT 2018 Annual Meeting now allow limited targeting of Atlantic Bluefin tuna for the purpose of collecting scientific data only by recreational anglers.

The pilot programme in 2019 saw 209 fish caught, tagged and released with no mortalities.

About Atlantic Bluefin tuna

 Atlantic Bluefin tuna is the largest tuna:

  • It can reach a weight of over 600 kg, 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.  

Authorised tuna boats

A full list of authorised skippers can be found below:


Vessel name

Current Port

Adrian Molloy Deep Blue Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Brian McGilloway Meridian Killybegs Co. Donegal
Donal McMenamin Tór Mor Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Michael Callaghan LEAH-C Killybegs, Teelin, Co. Donegal
Michael McGettigan Fiona Tee Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Patrick O’Doherty Bundoran Star Bundoran Pier Co. Donegal
Daryl Ewing Sarah Marie Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Declan Kilgannon Kiwi Girl Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
John Brittain Bluewater Cleggan, Co. Galway
Luke Aston Clare Dragoon Carrigaholt, Co. Clare
Noel Kelleher Sailfish II Kilrush, Co. Clare
Peter Power Prospector Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
Thomas McCallion Stingray Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Carroll O’Donoghue HARPY Kinsale, Co. Cork
David Edwards Silver Dawn Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Derek Schwartau Rebecca C Ballycotton, Co. Cork
Séan Maxwell Lady Louise Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Tony Santry Tigger Marlogue, Cobh Island, Cork Harbor
 Adrian Nowotynski  Chloe Jay  Union Hall Co. Cork
Kieran Collins RADIANCE Baltimore, Co. Cork
Tom Collins Loch an Iasc Reen, Union Hall, Co. Cork