Tagging Yellowfin Tuna with ICCAT and AOTTP - The Billfish Foundation

Tagging Tuna with ICCAT and AOTTP

Photo courtesy of Trey Russo/Miles Charlesworth

The Billfish Foundation is currently engaging in a research project with Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Program (AOTTP) in order to further the knowledge around lifecycles of yellowfin, bigeye, and skipjack tuna. This will be accomplished by working with recreational and commercial anglers to implement traditional ‘spaghetti’ tags into these different species of tuna. This research is very valuable and important to the multiple regional and national fisheries associated with these different species. For example, this work will be very important with the yellowfin tuna fishery in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

On a base level, this research will not only benefit the species, but it will benefit the numerous anglers that frequent this fishery. The yellowfin tuna fishery in the Gulf of Mexico is one biggest fishery of its kind in terms of constituents in the fishery. Thousands of people in the form of charter boat captains, charter boat passengers, and recreational anglers come every year to experience this fishery. This fishery has been very productive and valuable for many years, but recently it has experienced some years where it oddly has not been as productive as it has been in the past. This could be due to some natural occurrences such as bad current upwellings and low nutrients. However, this research can better determine the true reason for this change by better determining the life cycle and movements of these fish. This data will help show how these fish move with the different ocean current upwellings, whether they follow them exclusively or more nomadically. Thus showing that during a year of bad upwellings, then there will be less fish around or that is has nothing to do with natural causes and it could be a stock issue. Whatever the case, this research will help implement better management of this fishery and all the other fisheries in the future. Since many of your already participate in our tag and release program, add this other one to your tagging arsenal – so together we can help make sure this tuna fishery and many others just like it, are around for many generations to enjoy!

Contact us for more information and how to be a part of this limited-time program.