Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Summer Tradition: Going after Pacific Bluefin

The team from the Tuna Research & Conservation Center of Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium headed out Tuesday on the F/V Shogun, a long-range sport fishing boat out of San Diego. We have a dual mission at sea - 1) to tag Pacific bluefin tuna and 2) to collect Pacific bluefin for our laboratory studies.

We’ve been implanting archival tags inside the body cavity of bluefin in the Pacific since 2002. To date we’ve placed approximately 400 archival tags in the Pacific. We’ll be working off San Diego, where the Pacific bluefin have just begun to show up.

Our laboratory studies focus on the aerobic performance of bluefin tuna. These fish, whose tags have shown they swim across the entire Pacific to Japan and back to California in a single year, are the Lance Armstrongs of the sea. They have a superior level of cardiac performance and, on this trip, we have 4 physiologists with us to study the tunas. If we succeed in collecting some for the trip up to the tuna center, we’ll be examining the capacity of the energetics of the bluefin tuna.

The photo above is from our previous trip, and we expect to take many more like this over the next 10 days.

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