Title: Influence of fronts on the spatial distribution of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) in the Northeast Pacific over the past 30 years (1982–2011)
Citation: PROGRESS IN OCEANOGRAPHY vol. 150 p. 72-78
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC96612
ISSN: 0079-6611
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661115000737
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2015.04.013
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The association of albacore tuna distribution with subtropical fronts in the Northeast Pacific was examined on seasonal and interannual scales from 1982 to 2011. Spatial analyses were performed on commercial logbook data from US and Canadian troll and pole-and-line fisheries targeting albacore tuna that were matched with corresponding satellite images from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). Subtropical fronts were detected by deriving sea surface temperature (SST) gradients on large basin-scales and by using an improved version of the Cayula–Cornillon frontal detection algorithm. Based on our results, we suggest that areas with high albacore catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) tend to occur in regions with high SST gradients, such as the North Pacific Transition Zone (NPTZ) and the North American coast. Approaching the North American coast along the NPTZ, SST gradients drop off substantially around 130°W before increasing rapidly near the coast, which corresponded to a similar pattern in albacore CPUE. In the NPTZ, the centroid of albacore CPUE showed a seasonal shift northwards in summer and southwards in fall, which coincided with seasonal spatial shifts of areas with high SST gradients. A similar pattern was found on an interannual scale, with the exception of several years with limited fishery data in the NPTZ due to changes in fishery operations. A fine-scale analysis of frontal locations suggested that areas with high albacore CPUE are associated with oceanic fronts, with the highest alba- core CPUEs observed within 100 km of the nearest front. In addition, albacore distribution is related to frontal strength, with the highest CPUE found near fronts with high SST gradient values in the range of 0.12–0.16 °C km1. Integrating our findings on the influence of frontal areas on albacore distribution and abundance in the NEPO should improve the standardization model used to derive abundance indices for North Pacific albacore stock assessments.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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