Migration, residency, and homing of bluefin tuna in the western Mediterranean Sea

Type Article
Date 2014-03
Language English
Author(s) Fromentin Jean-MarcORCID1, Lopuszanski Daniel2
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, UMR EME 212, F-34203 Sete, France.
2 : BGFCF, F-13620 Carry Le Rouet, France.
Source Ices Journal Of Marine Science (1054-3139) (Oxford Univ Press), 2014-03 , Vol. 71 , N. 3 , P. 510-518
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fst157
WOS© Times Cited 31
Keyword(s) feeding area, front, marine protected area, pop-up archival tag, spatial distribution, Thunnus thynnus
Abstract This study presents the results of an electronic tagging programme on mature Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT) that has been conducted since 2007 offshore of the French Mediterranean Coast. The spatial distributions of ABFT showed little year-to-year variation and the fish concentrated in a small area of the central northwestern Mediterranean, where they may stay for several months. The individual tracks display sinuous trajectories in this area, indicating the possibility of feeding behaviour. No fish went out to the North Atlantic, but several fish displayed some migration to the southern western Mediterranean Sea during winter and the central Mediterranean during the spawning season. The homing behaviour of one fish after a full year as well as the back and forth of several fish further indicates that this restricted feeding area is probably persistent from year to year. We hypothesize that this area could result from local enrichment due to permanent mesoscale oceanographic features related to the North Mediterranean Current and the North Balearic front. The option of a spatial management, through marine protected areas, for a highly migratory species, such as ABFT, thus deserves more careful consideration because those species displayed complex spatial dynamics (e.g. homing), and population structure (e.g. several subpopulations of different sizes).
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