A new satellite technology for tracking the movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Aug 4;95(16):9384-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.16.9384.


The movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus) have captured the interest of scientists and fishers since the time of Aristotle. This tuna is unique among bony fish for maintaining elevated body temperatures (21 degrees C above ambient) and attaining large size (up to 750 kg). We describe here the use of a pop-off satellite tag, for investigating the Atlantic-wide movements and potential stock overlap of western and eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna. The tag also archives data on water temperatures. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology, study the movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna, examine their thermal niche, and assess survivorship of tagged fish. The pop-off satellite technology provides data independent of commercial fisheries that, when deployed in sufficient quantity, should permit a critical test of the stock structure hypotheses for Atlantic bluefin tuna.