ABFT Tagging

MFF have been involved in ABFT tagging operations since July 2004, through collaboration with the University of Bari, Italy and the late Prof. G. De Metrio. ABFT tagging was initiated to investigate spatial distribution and migration movements of the Eastern ABFT tagged with archival pop-up satellite devices.

Tuna tagging operations at MFF, July 2004.

Tagged ABFT ready for release back into the ocean in 2007.

To include movie Tagged tuna swimming in cage 2007

Since 2017, MFF has been collaborating with a consortium of scientists from the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) and the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS), from the Maltese company Aquabiotech Ltd and with the SATHOAN fishermen organisation from France.

Benefiting from the skills and knowledge of MFF, this collaboration allowed the scientists to design new techniques for tagging large bluefin tunas in a confined environment.


This then allowed the scientists to design unique tagging operations from the purse seiner fishing grounds, where tags are rarely deployed even though it represents the largest amount of Bluefin Tuna catch.


Two years of data collection provided new insights and hypotheses into the migratory dynamics of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, which stressed the importance of such deployments.


Along the years, the fish that were tagged from MFF cages and released into the wild, showed very consistent patterns with these findings. All the data collected has been transferred to ICCAT so that it can be used to feed current approaches that explicitly include migratory dynamics, and ultimately be useful to the management of the species.

Current projects with MFF allowed the scientists to develop a new tagging technique to study the heart rate of Bluefin Tuna, with the objective to understand how climate change will affect the migratory dynamics of this species through its physiology.

To include video links from last operation in Malta below



To view a list of some of the publications produced as a result of our R&D please click here.