Monday July 18, 2022

The Week

Large Pacific fish return to their own hatching sites when they produce offspring. A new map of their migration routes could mean better protection for them.

Invisible highways criss-cross the Pacific: the migration routes of tuna, marlin and other large fish. Science has so far been unable to chart these blue corridors’, but new research might have mapped them, making for better marine sanctuaries.

Understanding the migration cycles of large Pacific fish is important for commercial and artisanal fisheries, indigenous cultures and marine conservation. Traditionally, scientists have used tagging, satellite tracking and examining genetic links between populations to map migration routes, but these have produced an incomplete understanding of where the fish go.

Large Pacific species tend to return to the places they were born (their natal sites) when they produce offspring, so the researchers of a recent study made a deductive leap: the fish migrations must involve a loop that completes an annual cycle.

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