Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT) are highly valued and heavily exploited, and critical uncertainties regarding their population structure hinder effective management. Evidence supports the existence of two breeding populations of ABFT; a western population in the Gulf of Mexico and an eastern population in the Mediterranean Sea; both of which migrate and mix in the North Atlantic. Conventional tagging studies suggest low rates of trans-Atlantic migrations; however, electronic tagging and stable isotopes in otoliths indicate stock mixing up to 57% between management zones delineated by 45° W longitude. Here we show that organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be used as tracers of bluefin tuna foraging grounds in the North Atlantic and confirm that stock mixing of juvenile tuna within the U.S. Mid Atlantic Bight is indeed high (33−83% eastern origin), and is likely spatially and temporally variable. We further demonstrate that >10% of the Mediterranean population is migratory, that young bluefin tuna migrate from the Mediterranean to western Atlantic foraging grounds as early as age 1, and then return to the Mediterranean Sea as young as age 5, presumably to breed. The tracer method described here provides a novel means for distinguishing bluefin tuna populations and ontogenetic shifts in migration in the North Atlantic.
|Titolo:||Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) population dynamics delineated by organochlorine tracers|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|