Our objectives

Overview of our Objectives

All currently available scientific data identifies a substantial & sustained recovery in Bluefin Tuna stocks, and confirm that it is not subject to overfishing due to effective, on-going management measures by ICCAT.  (In this regard you may wish to read the current UK Government’s Response referencing the IUCN’s 2015 upgrading of their status from ‘endangered’ to ‘near threatened’; a two categorisation improvement.)  Coupled with this there has been an increasing abundance of fish reported – apparent now for approaching a decade – further northwards into Irish, UK and Scandinavian waters.

Within the strictures of the EU Common Fisheries Policy and importantly its underpinning principle of ‘Relative Stability’ though – currently solely focused on commercial interests and with the percentage of allocated quotas, nation by nation, fixed way back in 1983 – there was no mechanism to reflect this profound change in spatial distribution.  However, as a requirement of being allocated quota by ICCAT, the EU with its lion’s share internationally was required to allocation a proportion of this total to recreational anglers from just eight nations, primarily but not exclusively on a release basis.  All others were excluded but interestingly this and one of their famed political ‘compromise’ to what was a developing recreational release fishery in the Irish Republic is explored here in this article from our Club’s sister campaigning site.)

So the UK?  And in 2018, given our forthcoming departure from the EU, we started to campaign  for our joining ICCAT as an independent coastal state and importantly for a fully fledged Recreational live-release Atlantic Bluefin fishery. 

The two key components of our campaign, reflecting our Club’s ethos and values, are identified in this video entitled ‘Too valuable to catch only once’.  

Firstly, as with the politicians featured, we recognised the socio-economic benefits such a fishery would bring to coastal communities in each of the UK’s four nations.  But importantly also is its ability to contribute data – ecological and conservation-related – to ICCAT’s scientific committee for, together with that from other research projects, the continued management of this iconic species. 

Given negotiations surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU it was not until late in 2020 that the UK finally applied for membership of ICCAT.  That has now been approved but given this anticipated delay it was determined that an interim approach should be initiated: application for a 

‘citizen science’ Floy tagging program – referred to as CHART – such as that operated for the past several years in Denmark, Sweden and Ireland.  That, for English waters, was finally granted in April 2021 as identified in this Angling Trust’s Press Release.

You will see that efforts are also on-going to establish similar CHART programs within the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

2020 Fisheries Act

To put our campaign into perspective, it is worth reflecting on those objectives within the UK’s 2020 Fisheries Act?  They set out:

  • sustainability, that activities are:

– environmentally sustainable in the long term

– managed so as to achieve economic, social and employment benefits ……

– ……. do not overexploit marine stocks.

  • a precautionary approach defined as:

– exploitation of marine stocks restores and maintains populations of harvested species above biomass levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield.

  • a scientific evidence objective:

– scientific data relevant to the management of fish …. is collected

– where appropriate, the fisheries policy authorities work together on the collection of, and share, such scientific data

– …… is based on the best available scientific advice.

  • an equal access objective.
  • a national benefit objective:

– that fishing activities of UK fishing boats bring social or economic benefits to the United Kingdom or any part of the United Kingdom.

You’ll see given our campaign objectives they tick all of those boxes.

Additional material

Current progress on the English CHART – Catch, Tag and Release – is identified on this separate link 2021 – Progress.  Further details, including that relating to research projects in the three devolved nation, will be updated over time.

However for comprehensive research material identifying the recovery of this iconic species could I suggest you also access our sister campaigning site through this line, BluefinTuna UK.



Above we’ve referred to organisations by their initials,  ICCAT is the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.