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Study finds rise in bluefin tuna off Jersey



Wildlife experts are reporting a rise in the number of Atlantic bluefin tuna spotted off Jersey's coast.


It comes as part of a study to understand the movement and behaviour of bluefin tuna in Jersey waters through electronic tagging. A reduction in overfishing is believed to be among the reasons for the increase in the number of tuna.


Dr Lucy Hawkes said the species was the "most exciting fish we have in our waters".

The tagging study between the University of Exeter and Jersey's Department of Fisheries began in 2021. A total of 15 tuna have been fitted with the tracking equipment to date.


'Well managed system'


Dr Hawkes said: "Since about 2010 their numbers seem to have been increasing everywhere. We think that probably the reason for this is that we started catching them in fewer numbers.

"Very shortly they're going to be heading down to the Bay of Biscay. When they get big enough they'll even go into the Mediterranean to breed and come back again towards the late summer next year."


The research has shown the bluefin tuna stay around the Channel Islands from August to December, feeding on silvery fish such as mackerel and gar. Dr Hawkes said: "There's a really well managed system that couples together how many tuna we think there are, with how many people are allowed to catch. "Now we think there are more tuna around, there are more catch limits available. The UK more broadly for the first time this year has been given a quota to catch and take bluefin tuna for commercial purposes.

"That quota may be coming to the Channel Islands soon."

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