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  • Writer's pictureThunnus UK

Want to be involved in tagging Atlantic bluefin tuna?

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

As part of the ThunnusUK program, we will be conducting a tagging programme in 2018 and 2019 using state of the art electronic tags to study the seasonal migrations and behaviour of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught and released in UK waters. This will be the first time that Atlantic bluefin tuna have been tracked from waters of the southwestern UK and is a ground-breaking study for the region.

An airborne Atlantic bluefin tuna off the northwest coast of the British Isles

Up until the turn of the century, and when bluefin were last off the coast of the British Isles, the primary method used to try and understand bluefin movements was to use information on catches to infer migratory pathways. Whilst this method is still used, the development of animal-borne tracking technologies (internal- and pop-up satellite- archival tags; PATs) has revolutionised the study of movement ecology in migratory fish, such as Atlantic bluefin tuna. These tags, which are attached to the fish under study, collect data on light, temperature and pressure (depth) at pre-determined intervals (multiple per minute) until they detach from the animal or are physically retrieved. PATs are designed not to be collected, therefore they detach from the animal and transmit archived data back to the researcher through the Argos satellite network. Geolocations are obtained by using light curves collected by the tag to define sunrise, sunset and solar noon to resolve latitude and longitude respectively.

Some of the PATs that we hope to put out this year off the coast of Cornwall

Now that bluefin tuna are being sighted more regularly, the Thunnus UK project aims to work together with local skippers and fishers to study the onwards migrations of these magnificent fish, for the first time in Cornish waters.

An Atlantic bluefin tuna in the water prior to electronic tagging in Canada

To achieve our target of tagging Atlantic bluefin tuna in 2018, we are now seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from fishers and vessel owners to supply fishing services for the project. Once EOIs have been compiled, suitable applicants will be invited to a skipper/fishers meeting on at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, Penryn, Cornwall on the 14th of June to provide more detail on the tender specification, and to clarify any queries that applicants may have. If you are not available for the meeting, but feel like you would be suitable, then do please still apply. Unsuccessful applicants will also be contacted.

To apply, please write an Expression of Interest (EOI) addressing the requirements in the the document (available to download - here) and send to:

Michael Fox


Lowestoft Laboratory

Pakefield Road




The deadline for submissions is the 11th of June. Late submissions will not be accepted unless postmarked prior to the deadline date.

For other information please check - - for updates.

We look forward to hearing from you

The ThunnusUK team


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