Satellite observed sea-surface temperatures and yellowfin tuna catch and effort in the Gulf of Mexico.




Power, J.H.
May, L.N., Jr.

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A substantial long-line fishery has recently developed in the Gulf of Mexico. Tuna are believed to aggregate in regions of sea- surface temperature change (frontal zones), and this behavoir may significantly bias the catch and effort statistics critical for managing the fishery. We report the results of an effort to relate the sea-surface thermal structure evident in satellite imagery to yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares catch and effort, with the goal of providing fishery managers an assessment of how the yellowfin tuna catch-per- unit-of-effort (CPUE) is affected by the presence/absence of temperature variability. We examined over 6000 longline set records and 109 satellite sea-surface temperature (SST) images, and compared the CPUE with sea-surface temperature statistics computed from the image data in the corresponding area of the longline set. We found no discernable relationship between image SST statistics and CPUE, and conclude that catch statistics in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico are not biased by yellowfin tuna aggregating in regions of SST variability.


p. 429-439.


fishery surveys, fishery data, fishery oceanography, temperature, temperature data, catch effort, fisheries