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Atlantic bluefin tuna (latin: Thunnus thynnus) were once a common sight in UK waters, ranging throughout the Celtic and North Sea. However, they largely disappeared from British waters in the 1990s and only in recent years have they returned. In the last five years, Atlantic bluefin tuna have been frequently reported during the late summer, autumn and winter when they move into coastal areas of the UK to feed on energy rich fish, such as sprats and herring.


Whilst their return to our coastal waters is incredibly exciting, we know very little about these magnificent animals; where they have come from, where they go when they leave, and just how many have been seen in recent years. To learn more about bluefin tuna in our coastal waters, the “THUNNUS UK” project, with funding from EU Interreg IV (FISH-INTEL), UK Defra and from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will undertake a multi-year programme of research to develop a robust understanding of the ecology and distribution of these fish around the UK. The project has three aims:


  1. To collate information on the presence and abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna in UK waters using scientific and citizen science methods

  2. To undertake a tagging programme with state of the art electronic tags to collect evidence on the seasonal migrations, seasonal residency and behaviour of bluefin tuna caught in UK waters

  3. To provide information and advice to stakeholders

Click on the images below for more detail on each of the three goals and how to get involved, where applicable.

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