Title

Determining Natal Origin for Improved Management of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-30-2019

School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Abstract

Effective sustainable management of marine fisheries requires that assessed management units (that is, fish stocks) correspond to biological populations. This issue has long been discussed in the context of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT, Thunnus thynnus) management, which currently considers two unmixed stocks but does not take into account how individuals born in each of the two main spawning grounds (Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea) mix in feeding aggregations throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Using thousands of genome‐wide molecular markers obtained from larvae and young of the year collected at the species’ main spawning grounds, we provide what is, to the best of our knowledge, the first direct genetic evidence for “natal homing” in ABFT. This has facilitated the development of an accurate, cost‐effective, and non‐invasive tool for tracing the genetic origin of ABFT that allows for the assignment of catches to their population of origin, which is crucial for ensuring that ABFT management is based on biologically meaningful stock units rather than simply on catch location.

Publication Title

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

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