Toward an Environmental Predictor of Tuna Recruitment
Researchers used phytoplankton size to predict catch rates and weight of bigeye tuna in the Hawaiʻi longline fishery.
Bigeye tuna are of global economic importance and are the primary target species of Hawaii's most valuable commercial fishery. Due to their high commercial value, bigeye tuna are relatively well studied and routinely assessed. Larval and adult bigeye surveys have been conducted for many years and are supported by ongoing research on their physiology and life history. Yet, modeling stock dynamics and estimating future catch rates remain challenging. Here, we show that an appropriately lagged measure of phytoplankton size is a robust predictor of catch rates in Hawaii's bigeye tuna fishery with a forecast window of four years. We present a fishery‐independent tool with the potential to improve stock assessments, aid dynamic fisheries management, and allow Hawaii's commercial longline fishing industry to better plan for the future.
Woodworth-Jefcoats PA, Wren JLK. 2020. Toward an environmental predictor of tuna recruitment. Fish Oceanogr. 00:1-6. https://doi.org/10.1111/fog.12487.