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Influence of SST on catches of swordfish and tuna in the Portuguese domestic longline fishery

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Catch‐and‐effort data from a longline vessel operating off the west coast of Portugal, and thermal imagery from NOAA satellites were employed to investigate the aggregation and availability of swordfish, bigeye and albacore tuna in relation to transient coastal upwelling features. We found a decreasing trend in swordfish catch per unit effort (CPUE) and an increasing trend in tuna species CPUE during the study period in apparent association with the progressively increasing intensity of the coastal upwelling regime from year to year. Swordfish CPUE were significantly higher on the warm side of surface thermal fronts associated with events of intensification/relaxation of coastal upwelling. The fishing efficiency for tuna species was significantly higher during peak upwelling conditions, in the close vicinity of mushroom‐like structures at the edge of upwelling filaments. The present results do not support the existence of a preferred sea surface temperature (SST) range for these fish species. It is suggested that several mechanisms leading to the local concentration of prey provide adequate explanations for the aggregation of these species in the vicinity of frontal structures associated with coastal upwelling processes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Investigação Agrária e das Pescas (INIAP)‐IPIMAR, Av. Brasília, 1449‐006 Lisboa, Portugal 2: Deceased. Instituto de Oceanografia da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal 3: Retired from NOAA‐NMFS‐Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory, Pacific Grove, CA

Publication date: 2006-08-10

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