CHART 2023 Confirmed

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has today (Thursday 29th June 2023) confirmed to the Angling Trust and The UK Bluefin Tuna Association (UKBFTA) that the funding for the English CHART (Catch and Release Tagging) programme in 2023 has been signed off and the programme has been given the green light.
Given the severe funding constraints we – the Angling Trust and the UKBFTA – have highlighted previously, the process for approval took longer than we would have liked. Throughout the spring we continued to push hard for CHART to continue into 2023, including writing to the Minister and raising the matter with politicians directly. We are pleased the Minister recognised the importance of ensuring CHART will continue this year in England.
Those funding constraints have required some streamlining of costs and one way in which that is being done is via removing the workshop and training element of the programme this year. This means that for 2023 only those skippers who have previously completed the training element and operated in CHART beforehand will be eligible to apply. It is anticipated that up to 25 vessels will again be authorised from the pool of “CHART graduates”.
Fish welfare is of the utmost importance to many skippers and anglers, who fought hard for the workshop and training element to be included in order to pass on this crucial knowledge to new entrants, so the lack of funding for this prior element of CHART is disappointing.
We understand that there will be some disappointment from those who wished to join the programme this year for the first time. DEFRA has indicated that the only way in which CHART could go ahead within the funds available was to adopt this approach. More information will be provided by CEFAS in the coming days to the “CHART graduate” pool and more widely via social media platforms. Specific questions regarding the operational protocols etc should be directed to CEFAS once they go live.
England joins Wales and Northern Ireland now in approving programmes for 2023 which will result in up to 40 charter vessels being authorised to legally fish for Atlantic Bluefin across the UK’s western waters.
We are very grateful to those skippers, crew members and anglers who have supported our efforts to ensure some form of legal fishing continued in England this year. We continue to work with Defra on the introduction of a world-class recreational catch and release fishery in 2024. We are hoping a public consultation on this will take place before the autumn.
Good luck to the anglers and skippers participating in CHART 2023. Thank you for your continued support and tight lines.

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