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Tagging Atlantic bluefin tuna from a Mediterranean spawning ground using a purse seiner

Abstract : Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is as an emblematic and commercially valuable large pelagic species. In the past ten years, the purse seine fishery in the Mediterranean represents more than 50 % of the catch. Nowadays, purse seines target large fish and operate during the spawning season in the spawning grounds. Electronic tagging has shed a considerable amount of light on the ecology and behaviour of bluefin tuna over the past twenty years. However, such technique has rarely been applied on large bluefin tunas caught by the Mediterranean purse seine fishery despite its major importance. The logistical constraints related to this specific fishery, combined with the timing of migration of the fish and the requirements related to the handling of big fish have made adequate tagging from purse seines complex. Here we detail such an operation, designed to bridge the knowledge gap on the migratory behaviour of tunas targeted by the purse seine fishery. Three large bluefin tunas from the same school were tagged during the fishing operation of a French purse seine, resulting in a different migration pattern than previous deployments. The fish were tagged onboard in less than 2 min and efficiently, avoiding any subsequent mortality. These results contrast with those from tagging operations carried out in the Northwest Mediterranean, which underlies the importance of tagging operations from purse seines to obtain unbiased description of the movements of the eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna stock in the context of its management.
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Tristan Rouyer, Sylvain Bonhommeau, Nicolas Giordano, François Giordano, Saviour Ellul, et al.. Tagging Atlantic bluefin tuna from a Mediterranean spawning ground using a purse seiner. Fisheries Research, Elsevier, 2020, 226, pp.#105522. ⟨10.1016/j.fishres.2020.105522⟩. ⟨lirmm-02469461⟩

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