Skippers from the bluefin tuna CHART programme will have had their last opportunities to tag a giant this week, as the short season draws to a close this Friday, November 12th. As is often the case in angling, once you think you have cracked it, the fishing proves you wrong and following the highs of the 2020 season, the 2021 edition was a much more difficult affair.

Adrian Molloy of managed an incredible 250 fish in 2020, but this week three more tuna, including number 85, of a much slower season were brought alongside Deep Blue for tagging. It must be said though, that 85 tuna in a four month season would still be pretty good anywhere else in the world. Bluefin number 85 for in 2020, caught by Joe Foley on Wednesday, was a super 250cm fish.

Tag in, fish away

Tuna Mick managed to get a couple of fish in Donegal Bay last Friday, Nov 5th. A weather window of a few hours in the morning was enough for the Leah C to get out and a nice 520lber followed by a smaller version of 400lb+ were the rewards.

Down south, Dave Edwards of West Cork Charters wasn’t willing to let the season slip away without one last roll of the dice aboard the Silver Dawn. With so few fish around he wasn’t really expecting to hook up, but that he did, and following a 25 minute battle that proved to Dave just how unfit he is, a 200kg beauty was tagged and released. Dave also managed a single fish last Friday fishing out of Baltimore.

Silver Dawn and Radiance reflecting on the season gone

Irish Deep Sea Charters failed to tag a tuna on their last trip out – but only because the 80incher they played to the side of the Chloe Jay managed to wriggle free of the lip hook before the tag could be inserted! Skipper Adrian reckons that the area is full of dolphins, whales and, of course, the bait fish that they are all after at the moment.

We’ll hopefully bring you a 2021 season round up from the whole fleet in the coming weeks – once all the data is gathered and the numbers are crunched.


Tuna CHART (CatcH and Release Tagging) utilises authorised vessels to catch, tag and release Atlantic Bluefin Tuna for data collection purposes off the Irish coast.  The programme,  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 Environment, Climate and Communications, operated on a pilot basis in 2019 and 2020.

The 2021 season opened on the 1st July and closes on the 12th November 2021.

Authorised Vessels

Anglers wishing to engage in this fishery must only do so on a sea angling vessel specifically authorised to participate in the 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