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Census of Marine Life historians detail collapse of bluefin tuna population off northern Europe

y the CONWOY project of Denmarks National Science Foundation and the European Unions MARBEF Network of Excellence, the work is part of the History of Marine Animal Populations, one of 17 projects that comprise the global Census of Marine Life.

Says Dr. MacKenzie: We cant say with certainty that over-exploitation is the smoking gun in the bluefin tunas disappearance but clearly theres been a murder.

Weve shown bluefin tuna were here for a long time in high numbers. High fishing pressure preceded the species virtual disappearance from the area and apparently played a key role but other factors under study might have compounded the fisherys demise the catch of juvenile tuna in subsequent years, for example.

As well, its important to note that fishers from many other countries in Europe as well as Japan, the U.S. and Canada, contributed to the soaring increase in North Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing throughout the last century. We hope our work will inspire a more precautionary approach to the management of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic, with more concern about re-establishing and maintaining the historical range of the species.

Tuna Present

Another new study suggests that the bluefin tuna that historically foraged in the Norwegian and North Seas in summer likely commuted to and from the area via waters off the northwest coast of Ireland.

CoML-associated scientists working with the Tag-A-Giant (TAG) program used electronic tags to track migrations of giant bluefins found off the north of Ireland fish targeted by Irish sport fishers and Japanese long line vessels today.

In a paper for the journal Hydrobiologia, CoML and marine scientists from Canada, Ireland and the U.S. (Michael Stokesbury, Ronan Cosgrove, Andre Boustany, Daragh Browne, Steven L. H. Teo, Ron ODor and Barbara A. Block) report on the remarkable migrations of Atlantic bluefin tuna tagged off western Ireland in 2003 and 2004. <
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Census of Marine Life
5-Aug-2007


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