Title: How important are coastal fronts to albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) habitat in the Northeast Pacific Ocean?
Citation: PROGRESS IN OCEANOGRAPHY vol. 150 p. 62-71
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC89615
ISSN: 0079-6611
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661115001019
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2015.05.004
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We used satellite sea surface temperature (SST) data to characterize coastal fronts and then tested the effects of the fronts and other environmental variables on the distribution of the albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) catches in the coastal areas (from the coast to 200 nm offshore) of the Northeast Pacific Ocean. A boosted regression tree (BRT) model was used to explain the spatial and temporal pat- terns in albacore tuna catch per unit effort (CPUE) (1988–2011), using frontal features (distance to the front and temperature gradient), and other environmental variables like SST, surface chlorophyll concentration (chlorophyll), and geostrophic currents as explanatory variables. Based on over two decades of high-resolution data, the modeled results confirmed previous findings that albacore CPUE distribution is strongly influenced by SST and chlorophyll at fishing locations, and the distance of fronts from the coast (DFRONT-COAST ), albeit with substantial seasonal and interannual variation. Albacore CPUEs were higher near warm, low chlorophyll oceanic waters, and near SST fronts. We performed sequential leave-one-year-out cross-validations for all years and found that the relationships in the BRT models were robust for the entire study period. Spatial distributions of model-predicted albacore CPUE were similar to observations, but the model was unable to predict very high CPUEs in some areas. These results help to explain previ- ously observed variability in albacore CPUE and will likely help improve international fisheries manage- ment in the face of environmental changes.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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