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Complex migration routes of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) question current population structure paradigm

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Movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus, ABFT) from specific western Atlantic forage grounds are not well described, and the extent of their spawning areas is mainly surmised. In 2005 and 2006, we deployed 41 pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) on adult Atlantic bluefin tuna off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, and on Georges Bank. During the assumed spawning period, 56% of the tagged ABFT occupied a known spawning area, while 44% were located in distant oceanic regions. Assuming obligate annual spawning, these results are inconsistent with the notion of spawning site fidelity to the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean-wide migrations of adult ABFT tagged on a common forage ground suggest evidence of a metapopulation requiring more spatially explicit management than the current simple two-stock structure.

On n’a pas décrit adéquatement les déplacements des thons rouges de l’Atlantique (Thunnus thynnus, ABFT) à partir de zones d’alimentation spécifiques de l’ouest de l’Atlantique et on a en grande partie présumé de l’étendue de leurs aires de reproduction. En 2005 et 2006, nous avons fixé 41 étiquettes satellites enregistreuses détachables (PSAT) à des thons adultes au large de la côte de la Nouvelle-Écosse, Canada, et sur le banc Georges. Durant la période de reproduction présumée, 56 % des ABFT porteurs d’étiquettes se retrouvaient sur une aire connue de reproduction, alors que 44 % étaient dans des régions océaniques éloignées. Si nous supposons que la fraie annuelle est obligatoire, ces données sont incompatibles avec la notion de fidélité au golfe du Mexique comme site de fraie. Les migrations à l’échelle de l’océan des ABFT adultes marqués dans une aire commune d’alimentation laissent croire à l’existence d’une métapopulation qui requiert une gestion plus explicite à l’échelle spatiale que la structure simple de deux stocks utilisée couramment.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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