On board the fishing vessel Tio Gel, technicians from the Balfego Group, scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), Balearic coastal observation organisation (SOCIB) and the Institute for Advanced Mediterranean Studies (Imedia) have been gathering information over the last week to establish the parameters to enable prediction. The ultimate aim is to select an area where the bluefin tuna are most easily able to breed and grow and where scientists can best promote the fight against dwindling numbers of the species. A spokesman for the IEO explained yesterday that this is the second campaign of its kind to calculate and analyse how the dense clouds of bluefin tuna larvae spread out in their marine environment, and then compare the results to larvae bred in fish farms.
Research has revealed how the larvae spiral upwards from the depths over the course of a day, what the mortality rate is during the early stages of their development and at what stage the embryonic fish start to show signs of becoming fully fledged bluefin tuna. To produce clear definitions of the habitat under surveillance, the investigative team took samples from a series of coordinates situated between Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera previously mapped out by satellite.
The spokesman said that it is where surface water recently flooding in from the Atlantic meet the Mediterranean where the larvae are most likely to be found in the greatest abundance. The entire project, codenamed BlueFin is an attempt to establish sustainable harvesting of marine resources.
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