Donegal Bay is still a hive of activity with swarms baitfish attracting good numbers of bluefin tuna. The Sligo and Donegal bluefin fleet have had a difficult time with poor weather conditions recently; now increased travel restrictions will further hamper their efforts. Boats will still operate with Covid 19 mitigation measures in place so if you live within either county and want to stand and fight with the fish of a lifetime get in touch with one of our Tuna CHART licenced skippers before the season is out.

Kiwi Girl has been consistently on the fish this year and, with five weeks left in the bluefin season, skipper Declan Kilgannon has already smashed the targets he set for himself before a spreader bar was even set. Declan had a high profile visitor at the end of September with former Ireland, Lions and Leinster hooker Shane Byrne proving he can still tangle with the heavyweights. Once nicknamed ‘Mullet’, Shane might acquire an alternative fish inspired pseudonym if he keeps landing these beasties.

Kiwi Girl tags another bluefin beauty

Adrian Molloy aboard Deep Blue has also had a record breaking season – over 190 bluefin tuna caught, tagged and released back into Donegal Bay as of Thursday Oct 8th – impressive to say the least. Adrian had five BFT to the boat on Thursday, all tagged and released in good condition, just another day’s work for #190

Tuna Mick has also hit triple figures this year – BFT #100 was caught, tagged and released on Thursday thanks to some help form Mick’s pal Pat Cunningham. Pat fought 4 nice handy sized BFT to the boat up to 350lbs, not bad for a few hours. Mick, like all the skippers, has lost a lot of bookings due to the Covid 19 pandemic so it was nice to soften the blow with a helping hand from Pat.

Pat Cunningham grapples with BFT#100 for Tuna Mick


Tuna CHART (CatcH and Release Tagging) will see authorised vessels catch, tag and release Atlantic Bluefin Tuna for data collection purposes off the Irish coast.  The programme, which is being developed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute in partnership with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, operated on a pilot basis in 2019.

The 2020 season will open on the 13th July and close on the 12th November 2020.

Authorised Vessels

Anglers wishing to engage in this fishery must only do so on a sea angling vessel specifically authorised to participate in the pilot programme.  Any person engaging in this fishery on any vessel which is not appropriately authorised will be in breach of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction (Bluefin Tuna) Regulations.

A full list of authorised skippers can be found below:


Vessel name

Current Port

Adrian Molloy
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Brian McGilloway
Killybegs Co. Donegal
Donal McMenamin
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Michael Callaghan
Killybegs, Teelin, Co. Donegal
Michael McGettigan
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Patrick O’Doherty
Bundoran Pier Co. Donegal
Daryl Ewing
Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Declan Kilgannon
Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
John Brittain
Cleggan, Co. Galway
John Fleming
Luke Aston
Carrigaholt, Co. Clare
Noel Kelleher
Kilrush, Co. Clare
Peter Power
Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
Thomas McCallion
Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Carroll O’Donoghue
Kinsale, Co. Cork
David Edwards
Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Derek Schwartau
Ballycotton, Co. Cork
Séan Maxwell
Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Tony Santry
Marlogue, Cobh Island, Cork Harbor
 Adrian Nowotynski
 Union Hall Co. Cork
Kieran Collins
Baltimore, Co. Cork
Tom Collins
Reen, Union Hall, Co. Cork