||Bycatch of several groups of species and their characteristics are presented for the period 2003 to 2007 for the European purse seine tuna fishery operating in the Atlantic Ocean. Data were collected through French and Spanish observer programmes and represented a total of 27 trips corresponding to 2.9% coverage. Bycatch is defined as non-targeted species and small or damaged target species. Bycatch species composition, main species length, sex ratio and the fate of the most common species are presented first. Stratified ratios relative to landings of major commercial tunas were then used to estimate the total bycatch; these ratios were considered the most appropriate variable for extrapolation. Stratification was based on the fishing mode (free school vs. floating object), season (quarters) and spatial areas. The annual average bycatch was estimated at about 6400 t, corresponding to a mean annual value of 80.8 t per 1000 t of tuna landed or 7.5% of the total catch. Tunas represent 83% (67.2 t/1000 t) of the total bycatch, followed by other bony fishes (10%, 7.8 t/1000 t), billfishes (5%, 4.0 t/1000 t), sharks (1%, 0.9 t/1000 t) and rays (1%, 0.9 t/1000 t). Based on estimates of the annual bycatch, 16% was kept on board and sold in local markets.