British Wildlife 29.6 August 2018

Bluefin tuna off Britain and Ireland: return of the giant tunny?

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna have occurred sporadically in British waters over the past century, but have recently been recorded in high numbers in areas where they had been absent for many years. Tom Horton, Lucy Hawkes and Matthew Witt provide an account of the history of bluefin tuna fisheries and describe the current status of these iconic fish.

Over the late-summer and autumn months, visitors to the western coasts of the British Isles may see frenzied splashing at the surface of the water. Dolphins, seals, Ocean Sunfish Mola mola and Basking Sharks Cetorhinus maximus could be spotted, but these are increasingly being joined by Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus (referred to here also as just Atlantic Bluefin), bursting out of the water as they feed on shoals of small silvery fish.

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