Wednesday May 11, 2022

Science Daily

New research has pinpointed four high-traffic areas in the Pacific Ocean that should be considered of high priority if conservation efforts focused on large pelagic fishes such as tuna, blue marlin and swordfish are to be successful.

By studying the tendency of fish to return to their place of birth to reproduce — a concept known as philopatry that is often, and falsely, thought to apply only to salmon species — and pairing such knowledge with catch distribution maps and tagging and genetic sequencing studies, researchers at UBC’s Sea Around Us initiative identified the tentative migration routes of 11 tuna and other large pelagic fish in the Pacific Ocean and determined that certain areas should be considered as of ‘high’ and ‘very high’ priority when it comes to maintaining their populations.

“We applied the concept of philopatry to the movements extracted from tagging studies of species such as the near-threatened Pacific bluefin tuna and the heavily-fished yellowfin tuna, and we also combined this information with the links between populations inferred from genetic studies. This allowed us to identify tentative annual migration cycles,” said Veronica Relano, a doctoral candidate with the Sea Around Us and lead author of the study that presents these findings.

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