Bluefin Tuna Research Ongoing Research
The activity seeks to enhance the existing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) decision making system for population assessment and management of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus). The research team is a multi-sector and multi-disciplinary team composed of government (NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center – NMFS_SEFSC), academic (University of Miami Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of South Florida Institute for Marine Remote Sensing, University of Southern Mississippi, and University of South Carolina) and commercial (Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc.) scientists. The ultimate goal is to enhance science based management. We are finishing our first project in 2011 that involved the development of spawning site habitat classification and catchability indices of bluefin tuna larvae. These are being derived from the integration of several earth orbiting satellite data, in-situ oceanographic data, and ichthyoplankton larvae data. We are analyzing these data over a 20 year period to develop a time-series of enhanced biological and oceanographic indicators for the Gulf of Mexico fisheries. The habitat classification is leading to the development of bluefin tuna larvae catchability indices which in turn will be used in understanding and hopefully reducing the statistical variance in the population analyses. The habitat classification is presently being used for developing weekly and daily models forecasting where concentrations of larvae are likely to occur leading to an ‘adaptive’ or targeted sampling strategy. These analyses and forecasts are sent daily to the research vessels. These and other innovative techniques have improved our ability to catch and identify the larvae. We will be providing individual daily sea surface temperature and ocean color images and movie loops along with altimetry images when appropriate.
Results: Download two of our recent posters to get an overview of some of our results to date.
Warning – these are large PDF files and may take approximately 30-45 seconds to download, save, and open in Adobe Acrobat.
- Satellite Directed Sampling of the Gulf of Mexico for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Stock Assessment and Damage Assessment – 20mb
- Improving the NOAA NMFS and ICCAT Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries Management Decision Support System – 40mb
Management And Conservation Of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Thynnus) And Other Highly Migratory Fish In The Gulf Of Mexico Under IPCC Climate Change Scenarios: A Study Using Regional Climate And Habitat Models
This applications research project focuses on enhancing the management of multiple important highly migratory pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters, with particular focus on Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and other highly migratory tunas and billfishes. Our team has developed an innovative spawning habitat model for Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA NMFS). The proposed study will leverage our present collaborations to project this habitat model into the future using IPCC climate models and scenarios to assess possible effects of climate change on the spawning habitat and fish population dynamics.
We will improve the present habitat model by re-analyzing a 28-year time series of NOAA NMFS SEAMAP ichthyoplankton surveys in the Gulf of Mexico, with historical fisheries analyses (commercial pelagic longline fishing observer data) in the Gulf of Mexico, and relevant historical oceanographic data including historical and concurrent satellite imagery. Specifically, we will assess the potential changes in habitat extent using outputs from the numerical simulations constructed for the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4), which are being refined in preparation for the fifth assessment report (IPCC AR5). We will identify time periods over which average historical, synoptic environmental observations closely match the projected climate change scenarios in the entire North Atlantic, and study the spawning habitat of the various species and the distribution of adults as determined by fisheries statistics during such periods within the Gulf of Mexico using a high resolution downscaled mode of the IPCC models created using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HyCOM) and the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) .
The research is important because it will significantly contribute to developing functional links between climate variability, regional-scale oceanographic processes, and fisheries recruitment. The Atlantic bluefin tuna and other highly migratory fish species that use the Gulf of Mexico as essential habitat are still largely managed under the assumption that ecosystem parameters do not change over time. At the moment, how possible climate scenarios may affect these fish populations under other varying human pressures is unknown. The expected outcomes of the research include essential enhancements to present National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries management applications, including improved fisheries assessments, adaptive harvest management strategies, and a better understanding of possible scenarios for future stock rebuilding. It will guide our nation’s input to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) the international governing organization for tunas and billfishes. The approach developed here can then be applied by NOAA to assess options for other important fisheries as well as to the management of other resources, including marine protected areas.
The research team is multi-sector and multi-disciplinary, including government fishery experts and managers (NOAA NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center), government satellite researchers (NOAA OAR AOML), academic (University of Miami Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of South Florida Institute for Marine Remote Sensing, University of Southern Mississippi, University of South Carolina), and commercial (Roffer?s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc.) partners. This collaboration brings together time series of climate observations from satellite and in situ data, time series of biological observations, and ecological and climate models.