SWFSC Pacific Tuna Research Program

SWFSC biologist Nick Wegner takes the internal temperature of a Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) aboard a NOAA research cruise in the Southern California Bight. Image credit NOAA/SWFSC. School of bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis). Image credit NOAA.  

Tunas are highly migratory, pelagic fish found in all temperate and tropical oceans worldwide. Their streamlined torpedo body shape, thermoregulation, and diving and swimming abilities make tunas amazing predators able to travel across entire ocean basins. They are a highly-valuable culinary commodity and a target of both commercial and recreational fleets around the world. 

In order to cohesively manage fish stocks that migrate through many international borders, Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) were established to promote collaboration between countries in a geographical area and sharing the same HMS stocks. The two international RFMOs in the Pacific Ocean for HMS are the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimerand the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer. Scientists in the Highly Migratory Species Research program at the SWFSC participate in research with the  IATTC, WCPFC, Secretariat of the Pacific Community(SPC) The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer, South Pacific Tuna TreatyU.S. Canada Albacore TreatyInternational Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer, and coordination and collaboration with various universities, NGOs, and fishing organizations. Read more about management of HMS in the Pacific Ocean.

The SWFSC Tuna Research Program includes investigations on the biology, physiology, distribution, stock assessments, and management of tropical and temperate tunas found in the central-western and eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Species found in these areas are: albacore (Thunnus alalunga), Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). U.S. commercial fisheries include purse-seine, baitboat, troll, handline, and longline operations in both the EPO and central-western Pacific Ocean and data are collected by the IATTC The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer for U.S. purse seiners and baitboats fishing in the eastern tropical Pacific, as part of the Commission requirements. West Coast recreational fishing operations occur on chartered party boats or private recreational boats during the summer months when yellowfin and bluefin can be found in northern Mexican waters and the Southern California Bight. Albacore can be found from central California up to the gulf of Alaska and bigeye tuna are primarily found more towards warmer Hawaiian waters, although both are occassionally caught in the Southern California Bight. Catch data are collected by CDFG and used by SWFSC FRD staff for fishery monitoring and stock assessments. 


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Species we study:




 Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis). NOAA Fisheries.

Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis

Tagging flagDonate your bluefin tuna carcass to the SWFSC!                                  
    
Call for Bluefin Tuna Gonads

 

  Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). NOAA Fisheries.

Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

 
 

 Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga). NOAA Fisheries.

Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)

 
 

 Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus). NOAA Fisheries.

 Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

 
 


 Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). Image credit Dan Fuller.  

Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)

 


Last modified: 9/26/2018