CAPTION: Teams catch and release thousands of tuna after fitting them with a numbered plastic tag and recording their species, size, condition, tagging date and location (Credit: ABC licensed)
A big-eye tuna that was first tagged by a fisherman 13 years ago has been recaptured off the coast of Fiji.
The 100 kilogram tuna has been labelled the ‘grand daddy’ of the Pacific tuna tagging program, which has been running since the 1970s.
Bruno Leroy from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says the tuna was originally tagged by a Tongan fisherman in October 2000.
“The fish has been recaptured very close to its original position, 13 years later,” he said.
“Of course we don’t know where it’s been during all this time, but it’s suggesting that this particular species [might have] some sort of homing behaviour.
“Some other recapture data from big-eye tuna also suggests that the older the tuna is, the less its moving.”
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community uses trained teams catch and release thousands of tuna after fitting them with a numbered plastic tag and recording their species, size, condition, tagging date and location.
Bruno Leroy says the tagging program is a vital part of efforts to maintain the health and sustainability of tuna fisheries in the Pacific.
“When you tag tuna, you can learn about fish movement, migration and the fish world,” he said.
“The main goal is to estimate what proportion of the fish stock is taken by the fishing industry, which, in the western and central Pacific Ocean, is the biggest tuna fishery in the world.
“We are talking about 2.4 million tonnes every year…[so tagging] gives you an idea of the pressure on the stock – if this is sustainable or not.”
Source: RADIO AUSTRALIA