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Bluefin tuna tagged in 2007 in Spain, recaptured in Malta


Capturing an Atlantic bluefin tuna. (Photo: AZTI-Tecnalia)

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Friday, February 06, 2015, 01:50 (GMT + 9)
A bluefin tuna tagged in August 2007 and released off the coast of Zarautz, Gipuzkoa, was recovered now near Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea.
The information collected in the satellite marker carried by the fish, placed by expert technicians of the Technology Centre for Marine and Food Research (AZTI-Tecnalia) over seven years ago, indicates that this tuna crossed the Atlantic twice, to spend the winter in the US coast and the summer, in European waters.
This fact demonstrates the existence of two different stocks of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one that breeds in the Mediterranean Sea and the other that does so in the Gulf of Mexico.
However, scientists know that both stocks mix up in Atlantic waters where they feed.
Of the seven and a half years in which the specimen lived in freedom, the electronic tag it was carrying collected information for more than four years. This period represents the longest period ever recorded by a similar device on the study of juveniles.
The researchers hope that the data obtained will allow them to know their migration in detail.
By the time it was released, the specimen was a little over a year old, weighed more than five kilos and measured 65 centimeters. Now, seven and a half years later, it is 2 meters long and weights 160 kilos, AZTI reported.
The tuna was found in the marine farm ADJ Tuna, located in Malta.
As soon as it was recaptured, an observer of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) proceeded to collect recapture data and that of the electronic tag.
Scientists emphasize that it is the first time a juvenile bluefin tuna has been recovered, after having remained in freedom for more than seven years with the tag inside, and that had been released into the Atlantic and adjacent seas.
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