The Northern Albacore Tuna Season is set to begin on the 24 June
Irish fishing vessels are heading to the Bay of Biscay for the start of the Northern Albacore Tuna Season where the fishing is expected to be concentrated at first in the Cantabrian Sea with stocks moving northwards as next weeks progress.
The Irish fleet has 2,743 tonnes of albacore tuna to be fished with applications for licences having closed on 22 May last.
Irish boats are allowed to catch 55 tonnes per day with pair trawlers allowed to catch 110 tonnes of tuna between them. An amount of 200 tonnes to be set aside for this fishery and contingency. If this quota has not been caught by 01 September, 130 tonnes will be made available to the Main Fishery.
The Minister’s policy for Quota Balancing for Pelagic Stocks will be applied to the 2020 Albacore Tuna Fishery. Landing figures to be monitored closely, with the fishery to be closed by Fisheries Management Notice when the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) report that 2743 x 95% (2,605t) has been landed or retained on board the fishing boats.
The tuna can be either pair trawled, trolled or surface long-lined and will open on Wednesday, 24 June. Ireland has just 5% of the total allowable catch of Northern Albacore Tuna for 2020.
Boats from Greencastle, Killybegs and Skibbereen are set for the fishery which will see a large contingency of fishing vessels from the Basque region in northern Spain and they will also face competition from the French fleet.
In previous years the Greencastle pair of the Father McKee and the Brendelen have taken part in the albacore fishery in the Bay of Biscay. Currently, Father McKee is already in Santander with the Brendelen heading down the west coast of Ireland
The Cantabrian Sea lies on the southern edge of the Bay of Biscay along the northern coast of Spain.
Irish fishing vessels taking part in the Northern Albacore fishing have not always been greeted by their Spanish hosts with many incidents occurring instigated by officials and Spanish fishing vessels.
In September 2017, Irish boats were prohibited from landing their catches. Although the Spanish officials claimed that there were no incidents, Irish fishermen claimed their vessels were attacked and damaged during the stand-off.
To read more on the 2020 Albacore Tuna Management Arrangements 2020 click here.