Legislation has come into force today establishing permitting regimes for vessels to fish recreationally for Atlantic bluefin tuna in UK waters.

The legislation allows for vessels with a permit to fish using rod and line, on a catch and release basis, following the resurgence of the species.

16 tonnes of bluefin tuna quota have been allocated this year allowing catch and release recreational bluefin tuna fisheries to be opened in UK waters.


Photo: Kate Estes


A fishery will open in English waters in August. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will open the application process, for permits within this fishery, from the 10-30 June 2024.

The legislation follows a three-year scientific research programme delivered by Cefas to understand the management of bluefin tuna populations, and a formal consultation launched last year to gather views on the permitting regimes.

Conservation bodies have urged caution: “As we witness this resurgence of bluefin tuna in the UK, it’s crucial that we proceed with utmost care, adopting careful management and continued monitoring that honours the fragile balance of our seas and respects this iconic species”, said Dr Kenneth Bodles, the head of fisheries and aquaculture at the Marine Conservation Society, speaking to the Guardian.

Details of how to apply for a catch and release bluefin tuna permit in England can be found through the MMO.

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