SFPA warns against Bluefin tuna fishing

Number of incidents under investigation

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), is notifying all operators involved in recreational or sports fishing that seek to target Bluefin tuna that these fish are specifically protected under Irish law due to European conservations measures and it is illegal to catch, land or sell this fish. The SFPA is also reminding recreational fishing businesses that it is illegal to advertise fishing/charter trips targeting Bluefin tuna.

The warning follows the catching, towing and landing of a Bluefin Tuna in Teelin, Co. Donegal over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Based on information provided by members of the angling community a privately owned pleasure boat was met on arrival in Teelin by SFPA Sea Fisheries Protection Officers and a file is being prepared for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions. A number of other similar incidents are currently under investigation.

The species, which is under-threat globally due to over-fishing, can typically visit Irish waters during the late summer and autumn. While some EU member states issue permit the fishing of Bluefin tuna in their waters, any Bluefin tuna caught must be accounted for from that Member State’s national quota.  Ireland does not have a quota for Bluefin tuna, thus negating any access to these fish via sport fishing or any reactional fishing activity.

Susan Steele, Chair of the SPFA said, “This prohibition on the fishing for Bluefin Tuna applies to commercial fishermen as well as to recreational and sporting fishermen. It is illegal to deliberately target Bluefin tuna and any fisher who happens to catch one must release it to the sea and desist from fishing in that area.”



Eleanor Buckley, Communications Manager, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority

Tel: 023 885 93 46/ 087 920 3658 or email eleanor.buckley@sfpa.ie.


Ger McCarthy / Se├ín Lawless                                     Dublin office: 01 6798600

Weber Shandwick                                                          Mobile: 086 233 3590 / 085 11 676 40


About the SFPA

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is the independent statutory body, legally charged with the State’s sea-fisheries law enforcement functions. The Authority enforces the EU Common Fisheries Policy and sea-fisheries law generally and food safety law relating to fish and fishery products.

Its mandate covers all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, over 2,000 Irish registered fishing vessels wherever they operate and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood processing companies. The SFPA operates through a network of regional port offices situated at Ireland’s main fishery harbours.  

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