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Bluefin Tuna Tagged

Jersey marine officers are working with Exeter University to tag and track bluefin tuna in our waters.

The protected fish are increasingly being spotted off the island's coastline.

Satellite tracking will help to understand where they migrate, how they interact with stocks in British and European waters, and how best to manage the species sustainably.

Marine Resources tagged seven fish using specialist equipment, with scientist Dr. Lucy Hawkes leading the team to make sure it was done with minimum stress to the fish.

"It has been a great opportunity to work with the team from Exeter who are experts in this technology. The bluefin tuna is an emerging species in our waters and now, as a result of the data we will be able to collect, through the satellite tags, the daily locations, routes and behaviour of the fish. 

"We do know that over the past decade shoals of Atlantic bluefin tuna have been documented in the Western English Channel, Celtic Deeps, West Coast of Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland. Since 2016 bluefin tuna have been regularly sighted inside Jersey’s territorial waters, usually during late summer and autumn months and sometimes in shoals of hundreds of individuals." - Alex Plaster, Fisheries Officer.

The tags on five fish will collect data for one year, with two more tags staying on the fish for two years.

The study is being paid for through the Climate Emergency Fund.

"This project is an example of how we can use technology to further understand our waters. We are grateful to the expert marine scientists who have been lending their considerable expertise to help establish a tagging programme to satellite track bluefin tuna in Jersey waters. The data will be useful in the future to help inform marine policies and the way we manage our waters sustainably.

"This work serves to remind us that this magnificent species is currently protected under the new Wildlife Law and it is prohibited by anyone to land these fish within Jersey territorial waters." - Deputy John Young, Environment Minister.

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