Bluefin tuna breaching the water surface in Donegal Bay. Photo courtesy of David Morrissey.


Tuna CatcH And Release Tagging

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest species of tuna in the ocean and is prized among sports anglers. They are exceptionally powerful and fast fish, capable of reaching speeds of up to 65 km per hour.

A majestic species

The aim of the Tuna CHART programme is to build on our understanding of this majestic species, population demographics and seasonal distribution around the Irish coast. Recreational angling for bluefin tuna is not currently permitted in Ireland; however, as part of Tuna CHART, authorised charter skippers can catch, tag and release bluefin during the open season.

The Tuna CHART data collection programme will re-open on the 1st July 2024. This will be the sixth year of the highly successful data collection programme.

The application process for Tuna CHART 2024 is now closed. 
A list of authorised skippers will be available here from June 2024.

Atlantic bluefin tuna breaching the water surface in Donegal Bay. Photo courtesy of David Morrissey.

Tuna Chart FAQ

The bluefin tuna angling season for authorized skippers will be open from the 1st of July to the 12th of November 2024.

In 2023, 381 Atlantic bluefin tuna were caught, tagged and released as part of Tuna CHART. Authorised skippers undertook 239 bluefin tuna angling trips and caught and tagged, on average, 1.6 bluefin per trip. In the most successful week last year, 4.5 bluefin were caught and tagged per trip.

For the first time since the programme commenced in 2019, two recaptures were made of Atlantic bluefin tuna tagged and released under Tuna CHART. One of these recaptured bluefin was tagged in October 2020 in Donegal Bay and recaptured in September 2023 off the northeast coast of Spain. The second recapture was tagged in August 2023 off the coast of Kerry and recaptured just 22 days later off the northwest coast of France. 

These recaptures demonstrate the long feeding migrations of this species, travelling around the Atlantic following shoals of smaller fish, and returning to the Mediterranean and possibly other areas to spawn in summer months after up to three years of migration. The most recent recapture is a good example of the species’ ability to cover long distances in a short time span.

Learning from the anglers

As part of Tuna CHART, Inland Fisheries Ireland is carrying out a socio-economic survey of anglers chartering bluefin tuna trips with authorized skippers. This will help us estimate the potential for a future catch and release recreational fishery and provide us with a sustainable way of managing bluefin tuna.

The Tuna CHART programme is a collaborative project between charter skippers, Inland Fisheries Ireland and other agencies:

  • Marine Institute
  • Sea Fisheries Protection Authority
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

For more information about Tuna CHART contact us at:

Tuna CHART, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 Y265.