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Satellite data can help protect bluefin tuna
Date:11/21/2011

A new model developed by scientists of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) allows the potential presence of bluefin tuna to be tracked through daily updated maps, helping to protect endangered stocks and fight illegal fishing. The model, based on satellite remote sensing data, provides for the first time an overall view of the preferred bluefin tuna habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as their changes over time. Satellite-based habitat mapping can help identify more precisely areas to be inspected or to be closed for fisheries and it can also help refine estimates of fish stocks, thus contributing to a more effective fisheries management. European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Mire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: "This model will help to ensure sustainable management of bluefin tuna, actively contributing to two of the most pressing challenges for the future: food security and protection of the environment. Another good example of how science and research provide support to European Union policies."

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said "Responsible fisheries management decisions that ensure the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources and the availability of fish for future generations worldwide rely on good science. New findings, like the JRC's new model, will help us greatly in our efforts to protect bluefin tuna and fight illegal fishing practices."

The JRC habitat model allows the creation of near real-time maps of feeding and spawning potential bluefin habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as habitat maps over a decade. The novelty of this model is the use of satellite data on the concentration of chlorophyll on the sea surface, as well as temperature, to track specific oceanographic features, which play a key role on the fish distribution.

The results achieved through the model clearly highlighted that bluefin tuna feeding and spawning is con
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Contact: Berta Duane
berta.duane@ec.europa.eu
39-033-278-9743
European Commission Joint Research Centre
Source:Eurekalert

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