Journal Article

Genetic heterogeneity of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland

Jens Carlsson, Jan R. McDowell, Jeanette E.L. Carlsson, Droplaug Ólafsdóttir and John E. Graves

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 6, pages 1111-1117
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Genetic heterogeneity of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland

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Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are currently managed by the member nations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as distinct western and eastern stocks, separated by the 45°W meridian. Previous studies of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught in the northeast Atlantic south of Norway suggested mixing of putative stocks in the region, based on abrupt shifts in the size and condition of fish during the fishing season. By contrast, more recent studies south of Iceland reported only small differences in size of tuna caught at different times of the season in that area. To better understand the stock structure and composition of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the region, we surveyed genetic variation at eight microsatellite loci for 800 Atlantic bluefin tuna collected in experimental commercial fishing operations south of Iceland during 1999 and 2002. We tested for heterogeneity between years, between seasons within a year, between two fishing areas within the region, and between sexes. Analysis of molecular variation demonstrated slight, but significant, genetic divergence between collections of fish caught early and late in the season over the two years. These results are consistent with prior observations of Atlantic bluefin tuna of different conditions entering the fishery through the season, and suggest that the northeast Atlantic fishery represents a mixed-stock fishery including animals migrating from different areas and recruited from different spawning grounds.

Keywords: highly migratory; intra-season variation; microsatellites; mixed stock; teleost; Thunnus thynnus

Journal Article.  3745 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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