Title: Habitat mapping of the Atlantic bluefin tuna derived from satellite data: its potential as a tool for the sustainable management of pelagic fisheries
Authors: DRUON Jean-Noel
Citation: MARINE POLICY vol. 34 no. 2 p. 293-297
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC52217
ISSN: 0308-597X
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC52217
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2009.07.005
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The feeding and spawning habitats of the overfished Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) are mapped in the Mediterranean Sea and used in the present proposal for selecting restricted fishing grounds. The feeding habitat is mainly traced by oceanic fronts of satellite-derived temperature and chlorophyll while the spawning habitat is mostly characterized by an important heating of surface waters. The proposal recommends opening the fishery in feeding areas in case the BFT stock is low (current situation). Only spawning areas at its latest stage could be opened once the stock has recovered to its optimum yield. Due to the possible concentration of fishing vessels if fishing areas are restricted (e.g. four-fold increase with a 1/16th restriction of the Mediterranean Sea) the inspection activities could be better targeted. Identified spawning grounds, opened or closed to fishing, could also be particularly monitored by control operations. Within the authorized areas, the habitat maps would guide fishermen to the favourable habitat reducing their costs. The habitat guided management could be able to adapt the spatial and temporal distribution of the effort to the requirements of both the fisheries¿ control and the resource. Its implementation is likely to protect the stock a) by apparently decreasing illegal fishing which accounts in the recent years for more than one-third of total catches, b) by protecting the spawners to ensure a suitable recruitment and c) by distributing the effort to respect the population structure. The first species studied is the emblematic bluefin tuna which is at high risk of collapse due to overfishing. The approach is a priori transposable to other epipelagic species of commercial importance.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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