NIGEL Farage has upset conservationists by boasting of catching an endangered bluefin tuna.
The Ukip mouthpiece posted a beaming picture of himself on Twitter holding his prize.
He wrote: “Had a great time catching bluefin tuna in the Adriatic Sea this weekend.”
Mr Farage followed rules by returning his fish to the sea alive but marine campaigners discourage anglers from targeting the bluefin.
And animal champions Peta UK, said: “We urge Mr Farage to leave fish in their ocean homes and pick up a golf club or binoculars instead.”
Mr Farage’s spokesman said: “Nigel was chuffed as punch to catch such a magnificent fish. But it was just for sport.”
Mr Farage spent an Easter break fishing on the Adriatic Sea, which has coasts off countries including Italy, Croatia and Greece. It later emerged he returned the fish to the sea alive.
Illegal fishing of Bluefin – the largest tuna which can live up to 40 years – has led wildlife conservationists the WWF to brand it an endangered species.
Anglers in European member states can retain one Bluefin tuna per vessel in season if countries don’t exceed their commercial fishing quota.
The UK government insists the species are not targeted at all.
A spokesman for the Marine Management Organisation, which regulates fishing activity in English waters and by English registered or owned vessels, told The Sun: “Generally we discourage fishing activity targeting Bluefin tuna, particularly due to its status as an endangered species.
“Bluefin tuna should not be targeted and if caught accidentally they must be returned to the sea, alive and unharmed to the greatest extent possible.”
Bluefin tuna was branded the ‘million pound fish’ in 2013 after the mega-money sale of a whopper in Japan.
In 2014 the UK imported 91 thousand tonnes of tuna, worth over £287million.
Keen angler and ex UKIP leader Mr Farage called for a total rethink in the EU’s approach to recreational angling in 2016.
He was angry at a new EU regulation restricting anglers’ rights after a “derisory” one fish per angler rule was introduced.
The politician told the European Parliament: “We are talking about the disastrous level of Bluefin tuna stocks, quotas and commercial fishing methods. Not one person in this room has mentioned angling and I think our whole approach to fisheries simply is wrong.”