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Guernsey seeks 'clarification' of bluefin tuna fishing

Rob England

BBC News Online

Guernsey's government is looking into whether UK restrictions on recreational bluefin tuna fishing apply to the island's waters.

Bluefin tuna
Getty Images

The species is thought to have declined by at least 51% over the past 39 years.

A States of Guernsey spokesman said commercial fishing vessels were not permitted to catch the endangered species, but added officials were seeking "clarification" on restrictions for recreational fishing.

"Whatever the outcome of these enquiries, bluefin tuna are currently classed as an endangered species and should not be targeted by recreational fishermen," the spokesman added.

Recently all bluefin tuna fishing was banned in Jersey waters, which has been the case in UK since 2017.

States bans fishing for endangered bluefin tuna

BBC Radio Jersey

All bluefin tuna fishing has been banned in Jersey waters, the island's government has said.

The species is estimated to have declined by at least 51% over the past 39 years and has recently been seen in waters around the Channel Islands.

Blue fin tuna
Chris Hakett
Jersey anglers recently reeled in a 16 stone catch

Previously only commercial fishing vessels had been restricted, and this left recreational anglers free to cast off for the endangered fish.

Now the ban extends to recreational fishing as well.

Jersey's Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, said he brought the ban after three Jerseymen caught the endangered tuna legally off the island's coast last weekend.

The UK has a total ban on fishing the endangered species in order to preserve the remaining wild stock.

Bluefin tuna rules 'could change' with evidence

BBC Radio Jersey

Jersey's fishing authorities say they have to show a sense of responsibility towards an endangered species and can't simply allow anyone to catch them.

Greg Morel, Assistant Director of Marine Resources, says if the island could prove that it's not harming an endangered species by fishing for it, then it may be able to relax the rules.

President of the Jersey Fishermen's Association, Don Thompson, says the States should allow local fisherman to catch Bluefin tuna after a number of the species were spotted in local waters.

UK and Jersey fishermen have been banned from catching the fish due to it being on an endangered list and nearly dying out in British waters.

Bluefin tuna
Science Photo Library

If we have the evidence to do that I would say it is reasonable to do but we have to be in a place to convince people we are doing the right thing. If a species is under pressure we have to be careful not to exploit it but if we can make a case with the evidence then we should not be afraid to do that as well.

Greg MorelAssistant Director of Marine Resources