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Locating tuna forage ground through satellite remote sensing

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A technique has been developed to assess tuna habitat using satellite derived ocean colour, water transparency and sea surface temperature. The scientific approach is based on the food and feeding habit and the preferential temperature range of tuna. Time series chlorophyll-a images of Indian Remote Sensing Satellite P4-Ocean Colour Monitor (IRS P4-OCM) have been analysed to define the critical phytoplankton patch size, its persistence and the optimal water transparency depth. Sea surface temperature (SST) data derived from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (NOAA-AVHRR) have been analysed to study the optimum temperature range in the surrounding waters. Results based on hindcasting indicate that the tuna forage ground derived from satellite data yielded high catch of tuna (>2% hooking rate). Study reveals that a minimum time delay of 5-7 days is required for a phytoplankton patch to mature to the forage ground. In addition, water transparency for facilitating sight feeding should be about 25-30 m depth. The thermal limit and preferential temperature range observed is 26-30°C and 26-28°C, respectively. Preliminary results based on limited validation are highly promising. However, an experimental forecast is being planned to validate this approach.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Marine and Earth Sciences Group, Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 2: Fishery Survey of India, Botawala Chambers, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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