The Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has decided to launch a new tagging program for Bluefin Tuna as well as Inland Fisheries Ireland which recently launched its own project, also focused on Bluefin tuna. Both initiatives will involve anglers whose experience, knowledge and enthusiasm will be precious to make them successful.
In Norway, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has received the support of the Institute of Marine Research and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries. Its project aims to collect many observations about Bluefin tuna habits following a successful similar initiative in 2018 and 2019. In addition, this year’s edition will allow a limited recreational fishing for 18 teams of anglers involved in the project.
More than 200 anglers applied as a team or individually to be part of the project. All institutions involved in the project spent a lot of time while selecting teams and individuals as tagging requires a lot of experience. Strict requirements made the selection very tough. At the end of the process, 18 teams were chosen to be able to take part in both tagging and recreational fishing parts of the project while 6 teams will only be allowed to participate in recreational fishing for Bluefin tuna.
In Ireland, 22 charter angling vessels will participate in a project untitled Tuna CHART (Catch and Release Tagging), a Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme. This initiative has been launched by Inland Fisheries Ireland together with the Marine Institute and in partnership with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marina and the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Eamon Ryan, Irish Minister in charge of fisheries underlined the special role played by anglers in the project: “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 scientists’ anglers who will catch the fish”.
Under the strict control of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, angling vessels hope to reach last year’s performance with a zero-mortality rate among tagged and released Bluefin tuna. This year’s number of authorised vessels, 22 compared to 15 in 2019, is another positive sign showing that partnering between scientists and anglers has good days ahead, from the shores of Ireland to Norwegian waters.