Electronic tagging programme 

Figure. 1. A pop-up satellite archival tag recovered during tagging operations off northwest Ireland in 2016

We will track bluefin tuna movement from UK waters using pop-up satellite archival tags (PATs; Figure 1), which are mounted externally and record ambient light, temperature and depth continuously every 15 seconds for up to a year. On a set date, the tag detaches from the tuna and floats to the sea surface, it then begins to transmit a summary of the data to a satellite network (Figure 2).

We are using state of the art tracking tags, which are as small and light as current technology specifications allows them to be. Despite being only 20 cm long, they can collect data for up to one year, and transmit these data to satellites, but they store much more data on board that are very valuable if the tag can be physically recovered. We would therefore like to hear from anyone who may find these tags once they have detached from the tuna and washed ashore.

If you are a recreational sea angler (RSA) and interested in taking part in the 2019 electronic tagging programme please head to the specific tagging page HERE. If you would like to learn more about the result from the programme then please watch head to the events page HERE to see presentations from previous events and dates for future events. 

Figure. 2. Schematic of how a pop-up satellite archival tag works


THUNNUS UK is a collaborative research project between The University of Exeter, The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Tuna Research and Conservation Centre of Stanford University, USA and aims to provide a baseline understanding of the ecology of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in waters of the British Isles. The project is supported by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).


E: bluefin@exeter.ac.uk


© Thunnus UK 2019