Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna in European waters is recognised as a ‘near threatened’ species by the IUCN Red List 2015 assessment. The most recent IUCN assessment of Atlantic bluefin tuna across its entire range (in 2011) classified the species as ‘endangered’.
In the European marine area, management of the Eastern Atlantic stock is essential to the future of the species, as this stock remains overfished.
Within UK waters, it is prohibited for commercial or recreational vessels to catch or target bluefin tuna unless authorised to do so by a Fisheries Administration. The UK has no specific quota to catch bluefin tuna and as such does not currently issue authorisations to UK recreational vessels.
Bluefin tuna is a prohibited species for UK registered commercial fishing vessels and if caught as a by-catch must be returned to the sea, alive and unharmed to the greatest extent possible.
Bluefin tuna caught as a by-catch which are dead must be reported to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) by contacting the local MMO office, landed whole and unprocessed. Bluefin tuna landed as a result of this requirement must not be sold or given away unless it is for scientific research following approval from the MMO.