According to reports from NI fishing boats, Northeast Atlantic Bluefin tuna were spotted feeding in Manx territorial waters this week
There has been a report of a rare Northeast Atlantic Bluefin tuna in Manx territorial waters this week, according to the Isle of Man Government.
The sighting includes a video taken by one of two Northern Irish boats that were fishing for herring. In the video the bluefin tuna can be seen feeding from escaped or lost catch alongside a seal.
The report has not been verified by the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), but officers have spoken with the skipper who estimated there were three or four tuna, ranging from 1.6 to 3 metres in length. They also confirmed details about the location and description of the animals.
Atlantic Bluefin tuna were previously classed as an endangered species due to overfishing however in early 2021, thanks to protection efforts, the International Union for the Conversation of Nature (ICUN) reduced their global classification to least concern although the last European survey in 2015 indicated the stock to be near threatened.
Bluefin tuna have not been recorded in Manx waters for many years, DEFA would be interested to hear from anyone with information regarding previous sightings of tuna around the Island.
Any new sightings or footage should be reported to DEFA and the Thunnus UK website at https://www.thunnusuk.org.
The Department is always interested to hear of any unusual sightings.
The species is migratory and have only been recorded returning to UK waters since 2013. Researchers have found that they begin to arrive around May, and some stay as late as January, with peak sightings occurring between August and October.
Nearly 1,000 unique observations were recorded between 2013 and 2018 by citizen scientists, scientists, fishers, and eco-tour leaders in the UK.
Currently fishermen are not permitted to target Tuna in Manx waters and there is no allowance for by-catch.
Sightings can be reported via email to fisheriesenquiries.defa@gov.Im or telephone on 685857.