Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 6, pp 2063–2075 | Cite as

Reproductive status and body condition of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine, 2000–2002

  • Jennifer Goldstein
  • Scott Heppell
  • Andrew Cooper
  • Solange Brault
  • Molly Lutcavage
Research Article

Abstract

The reproductive status and body condition of 195 (≥185 cm curved fork length, CFL; assigned age 7 and above) Atlantic bluefin tuna were assessed in the Gulf of Maine during the commercial fishing season of June–October, 2000–2002. Given the distance between known spawning and feeding grounds, the prevailing paradigm for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus, L.) suggests that the most likely histological state for females arriving in the Gulf of Maine after spawning would be a resting or quiescent state with little or no perigonadal fat. Alternatively, the presence of mature or mature-inactive histological states in some females supports a more varied or individualistic model for bluefin reproduction. No relationship was found between body condition and reproductive status. Males were found in all reproductive stages, but were more likely to be in spawning condition (stages 4 and 5) or a mature-inactive state (stage 6) in June and July. Female bluefin tuna were found in stage 1 (immature or non-spawning) and stage 6 (mature-inactive). Stage 6 females were only present in June and July and smaller females (<235 cm CFL) were more likely to be in stage 6 than large females (>235 cm CFL) sampled during those same months. The presence of smaller females in stage 6 arriving at the same time as larger females in stage 1 indicates that Western Atlantic bluefin tuna may have an asynchronous reproductive schedule and may mature at a smaller size than the currently accepted paradigm suggests.

Keywords

Body Condition Reproductive Stage Bluefin Tuna Atretic Follicle Vitellogenic Oocyte 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Mike Blanchard, Matt Bunnell, John Caldwell, Bill Chaprales, Rocky Chase, Scott Drabinowicz, Mark Godfried, Eric and John Hesse, Jeff Tutein, Dave and Greg Walinski, Cape Quality Bluefin and Fresh Water Fish for collecting samples. We also thank Jennifer Bowdoin and Jennifer Albright for help with sampling, Kurt Schaefer and Antonio Medina for advice on histology, Chris Bridges for hormonal analysis, Ben Galuardi for spatial analysis, and Frank Cyganowski and the late Peter C. Wilson for use of unpublished materials. This work was supported by NOAA Grant NA04NMF4550391 to M. Lutcavage. All work was done under compliance with UNH IACUC and NOAA Exempted Fishing Permits.

References

  1. Abascal FJ, Megina C, Medina A (2004) Testicular development in migrant and spawning bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus (L.) from the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. Fish Bull 102:407–417Google Scholar
  2. Anderson R, Neumann R (1996) Length, weight and associated structural indices. In: Murphy B, Willis D (eds) Fisheries techniques, 2nd ed. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, pp 447–481Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous (2003) Report of the sixth GFCM-ICCAT meeting on stocks of large pelagic fishes in the Mediterranean. Col Vol Sci Pap ICCAT 55:1–84Google Scholar
  4. Baglin RE Jr (1980) Length–weight relationships of western Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus. Fish Bull 77:995–1000Google Scholar
  5. Baglin RE Jr (1982) Reproductive biology of western Atlantic bluefin tuna. Fish Bull 80:121–134Google Scholar
  6. Belle S (1996) Biological sampling of bluefin tuna off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Final report to the New England Aquarium Corporation, NOAA req no. 43AANF503279, Boston, 12 pGoogle Scholar
  7. Bigelow HB, Schroeder WC (1953) Fishes of the Gulf of Maine. Fish Bull 53:1–577Google Scholar
  8. Block BA, Dewar H, Blackwell SB, Williams TD, Prince ED, Farwell CJ, Boustany A, Teo SL, Seitz A, Walli A, Fudge D (2001) Migratory movements, depth preferences, and thermal biology of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Science 293:1310–1314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Block BA, Teo SLH, Walli A, Boustany A, Stokesbury MJW, Farwell C, Weng K, Dewar H, Williams TD (2005) Electronic tagging and population structure of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Nature 434:1121–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burton MP, Idler DR (1984) The reproductive cycle in winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Walbaum). Can J Zool 62:2563–2567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burton MP, Idler DR (1987) An experimental investigation of the non-reproductive post-mature state in winter flounder. J Fish Biol 30:643–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Caddy JF, Butler MJA (1976) Recent catch trends and age compositions in Canadian coastal fisheries for giant bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), and their relevance to assessment of the Northwest Atlantic large fish stock. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap 5:244–257Google Scholar
  13. Chase B (2002) Differences in the diet of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at five seasonal feeding grounds on the New England continental shelf. Fish Bull 100:168–180Google Scholar
  14. Corriero A, DeSantis S, DeFlorio M, Acone F, Bridges CR, de la Serna JM, Megelofonou P, DeMetrio G (2003) Histological investigation on the ovarian cycle of the bluefin tuna in the western and central Mediterranean. J Fish Biol 62:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Corriero A, Karakulak S, Santamaria N, Deflorio M, Spedicato D, Addis P, Desantis S, Cirillo F, French-Farrugia A, Vassallo-Agius R, de la Serna J, Oray Y, Cau A, Megalofonou P, DeMetrio G (2005) Size and age at sexual maturity of female bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus L. 1758) from the Mediterranean Sea. J Appl Ichthyol 21:483–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crane J (1936) Notes on the biology and ecology of giant tuna Thunnus thynnus, L. observed at Portland, Maine. Zoologica 212:207–212Google Scholar
  17. Davis TLO, Farley JH (2001) Size distirbution of southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) by depth on their spawning ground. Fish Bull 99:381–386Google Scholar
  18. Diaz GA, Turner SC (2006) Size frequency distribution and age estimation of BFT in the Gulf of Mexico during the spawning season. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap SCRS/2006/090Google Scholar
  19. Dragovich A (1970) The food of bluefin tuna, (Thunnus thynnus) in the western North Atlantic ocean. Trans Am Fish Soc 99:726–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Estrada JA, Lutcavage M, Thorrold SR (2005) Diet and trophic position of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) inferred from stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. Mar Biol 147:37–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Farley JH, Davis TLO (1998) Reproductive dynamics of southern bluefin tuna, Thunnus maccoyii. Fish Bull 96:223–236Google Scholar
  22. Frade F (1937) Recherches sur la maturieté sexuelle du thon rouge. Bull Soc Portugaise Sci Naturelles Lisbonne 12:243–250Google Scholar
  23. Fromentin JM, Fonteneau A (2001) Fishing effects and life history traits: a case-study comparing tropical versus temperate tunas. Fish Res 53:133–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fromentin JM, Powers JE (2005) Atlantic bluefin tuna: population dynamics, ecology, fisheries and management. Fish Fish 6:281–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Garrod DJ, Horwood JW (1984) Reproductive strategies and the response to exploitation. In: Potts GW, Wooton RJ (eds) Fish reproduction. Academic, London, pp 367–384Google Scholar
  26. Golet W, Cooper A, Campbell R, Lutcavage M (2006) Decline in condition factor of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine. Fish Bull (in press)Google Scholar
  27. Gunderson DR (1997) Trade-off between reproductive effort and adult survival in oviparous and viviparous fishes. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 54:990–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hearn WS, Polacheck T (2003) Estimating long-term growth-rate changes of southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) from two periods of tag-return data. Fish Bull 101:58–74Google Scholar
  29. Heppell SA, Sullivan CV (1999) Gag (Mycteroperca microlepsis) vitellogenin: purification, characterization, and use for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELIZA) of female maturity in three species of grouper. Fish Physiol Biochem 20:361–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heppell SA, Sullivan CV (2000) Identification of gender and reproductive maturity in the absence of gonads: muscle tissue levels of sex steroids and vitellogenin in gag (Mycteroperca microlepsis). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 57:148–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hislop JRG, Robb AP, Gauld JA (1978) Observations on effects of feeding level on growth and reproduction in haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus (L.) in captivity. J Fish Biol 13:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hunter JR, Macewicz BJ (1985) Rates of atresia in the ovary of captive and wild northern anchovy, Engraulis mordax. Fish Bull 83:119–136Google Scholar
  33. Hunter JR, Macewicz BJ, Sibert JR (1986) The spawning frequency of skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis, from the south Pacific. Fish Bull 84:895–903Google Scholar
  34. Itoh T (2006) Sizes of adult bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis in different areas of the western Pacific Ocean. Fish Sci 72:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jorgensen C, Ernande B, Fiksen O, Dieckmann U (2006) The logic of skipped spawning in fish. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 63:200–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Larsson P, Hamrin S, Okla L (1990) Fat content as a factor inducing migratory behavior in the eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) to the Sargasso Sea. Naturwissenshaften 77:488–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lioka C, Kani K, Nhhala H (2000) Present status and prospects of technical development of tuna farming. Cahiers Options Méditerranéennes 47:275–285Google Scholar
  38. Lutcavage M, Kraus S, Hoggard W (1997) Aerial assessment of bluefin tuna in the Bahama Banks-Straits of Florida, 1995. Fish Bull 95:300–310Google Scholar
  39. Lutcavage ME, Brill RW, Skomal GB, Chase BC, Howey PW (1999) Results of pop-up satellite tagging of spawning size class fish in the Gulf of Maine: do North Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in the mid-Atlantic? Can J Fish Aquat Sci 56:173–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mather FJ III (1973) The bluefin tuna situation. In: Proceedings of 16th annual international game fish research conference, pp 93–120Google Scholar
  41. Mather FJ III, Mason JM, Jones AC (1995) Historical document: life history and fisheries of Atlantic bluefin tuna. NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS SEFSC-370Google Scholar
  42. McCullagh P, Nelder JA (1989) Generalized linear models, 2nd edn. Chapman Hall/CRC, FloridaCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McGowan MF, Richards WJ (1989) Bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, larvae in the Gulf Stream off the southeastern United States: shipboard observations of their movement. Fish Bull 87:615–631Google Scholar
  44. Medina A, Abascal FJ, Megina C, García A (2002) Stereological assessment of the reproductive status of female Atlantic northern bluefin tuna during migration to the Mediterranean spawning grounds through the Strait of Gibraltar. J Fish Biol 60(1):203–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mourente G, Megina C, Díaz-Salvago E (2002) Lipids in female northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus L.) during sexual maturation. Fish Physiol Biochem 24:351–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mylonas CC, Woods LC III, Zohar Y (1997) Cyto-histological examination of post-vitellogenesis and final oocyte maturation in cative-reared striped bass. J Fish Biol 50:34–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Neilson JD, Campana SE (2006) Pilot study of bluefin tuna age validation. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap SCRS/2006/077Google Scholar
  48. Nemerson D, Berkeley S, Safina C (2000) Spawning site fidelity in Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus : the use of size-frequency analysis to test for the presence of migrant east Atlantic bluefin tuna on Gulf of Mexico spawning grounds. Fish Bull 98:118–126Google Scholar
  49. NRC (1994) An assessment of Atlantic bluefin tuna. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  50. Parrack ML, Phares PL (1979) Aspects of the growth of Atlantic bluefin tuna determined from mark-recapture data. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap 8:356–366Google Scholar
  51. Quinn T II, Deriso R (1999) Quantitative fish dynamics. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 86–207Google Scholar
  52. Rajasilta M (1992) Relationship between food, fat, sexual maturation, and spawning time of Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) in the Archipelago Sea. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 49:644–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rathjen WF (1961) Memorandum, US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Exploratory Fishing and Gear Research Base, Gloucester, May 9, 1961Google Scholar
  54. Restrepo VR, Roderíguez-Marín E, Cort JL, Rodríguez-Cabello C (2006) Are the growth curves currently used for Atlantic bluefin tuna statistically different? ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap SCRS 2006/079Google Scholar
  55. Richards WJ (1976) Spawning of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Atlantic ocean and adjacent seas. ICAAT Col Vol Sci Pap 2:267–278 (SCRS/75/97)Google Scholar
  56. Rideout RM, Burton MPM, Rose GA (2000) Observations on mass atresia and skipped spawning in northern Atlantic cod from Smith Sound, Newfoundland. J Fish Biol 57:1429–1440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rideout RM, Rose GA, Burton MPM (2005) Skipped spawning in female iteroparous fishes. Fish Fish 6:50–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rijnsdorp AD (1990) The mechanism of energy allocation over reproduction and somatic growth in female North Sea plaice, Pleuronectes platessa L. Neth J Sea Res 25:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rivas LR (1954) A preliminary report on the spawning of the western North Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Straits of Florida. Bull Mar Sci Gulf Caribbean Miami 4:302–322Google Scholar
  60. Rivas LR (1976) Variation in sex ratio, size differences between sexes, and change in size and age composition in Western North Atlantic giant bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap 5:297–301Google Scholar
  61. Rivas LR (1978) Preliminary models of annual life history cycles of the north Atlantic bluefin tuna. In: Sharp GD, Dizon AD (eds) The physiological ecology of tunas. Academic, New York, pp 369–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rodríguez-Roda J (1963) Investigaciones sobre túnidos. Publicaciones Técnicas de la Junta de Estudios de Pesca. Dirección General de Pesca Maritíma, Madrid 2:39–77Google Scholar
  63. Rodríguez-Roda J (1964) Biología del atún, Thunnus thynnus (L.), de la costa sudatlántica de España. Invest Pesqu 25:33–146Google Scholar
  64. Rooker JR, Secor DH (2004) Stock structure and mixing of Atlantic bluefin tuna: evidence from stable δ13C and δ18O isotopes in otoliths. Col Vol Sci Pap ICCAT 56:1115–1120Google Scholar
  65. Royer F, Fromentin JM (2006) Environmental noise in spawning areas: the case of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). Fish Oceanogr (in press)Google Scholar
  66. Schaefer KM (1996) Spawning time, frequency, and batch fecundity of yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, near Clipperton Atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Fish Bull 94:98–112Google Scholar
  67. Schaefer KM (1998) Reproductive biology of the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the eastern Pacific ocean. Bull IATTC 21:489–528Google Scholar
  68. Schaefer KM (2001) Reproductive biology of tunas. In: Block BA, Stevens ED (eds) Tuna: physiology, ecology and evolution. Academic, San Diego, pp 225–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sibert JR, Lutcavage ME, Nielsen A, Brill RW, Wilson SG (2006) Inter-annual variation in large scale movement of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) determined from popup satellite archival tags. Can J Fish Aquat Sci (in press)Google Scholar
  70. Sidak Z (1967) Rectangular confidence regions for the means of multivariate normal distributions. J Am Stat Assoc 62:626–633Google Scholar
  71. Stearns SC, Crandall RE (1984) Plasticity for age and size at sexual maturity: a life history response to unavoidable stress. In: Potts GW, Wooton RJ (eds) Fish reproduction. Academic, London, pp 13–33Google Scholar
  72. Stokesbury MJW, Teo SLH, Seitz A, O’Dor RK, Block BA (2004) Movement of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) as determined by satellite tagging experiments initiated off New England. Can J Aquat Sci 61:1976–1987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Susca V, Corriero A, Bridges CR, DeMetrio G (2000) Study of the sexual maturity of female bluefin tuna: purification and partial characterization of vitellogenin and its use in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. J Fish Biol 58:815–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Susca V, Corriero A, Deflorio M, Bridges CR, DeMetrio G (2001b) New results on the reproductive biology of the bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Mediterranean. Col Vol Sci Pap ICCAT 52:745–751Google Scholar
  75. Tiews K (1963) Synopsis of biological data on bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus (Linnaeus) 1758 (Atlantic and Mediterranean). FAO fish rep synopsis no.56 2:422–481Google Scholar
  76. Turner S, Terceiro M (1994) Estimation of west Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, age composition with length composition analysis. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap 42:173–180Google Scholar
  77. Turner S, Restrepo V, Elkund A (1991) A review of the growth of Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus. ICCAT Col Vol Sci Pap 35:271–293Google Scholar
  78. Wilson P (1965) Cruise Report, MV Delaware Cruise 65-3, March 30–April 23, 1965. Pelagic-oceanic explorations. May 20, 1965. USFWS Bureau of Commercial FisheriesGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilson S, Lutcavage M, Brill R, Genovese M, Cooper A, Everly A (2005) Movements of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the northwestern Atlantic ocean recorded by pop-up satellite archival tags. Mar Biol 146:409–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Goldstein
    • 1
  • Scott Heppell
    • 2
  • Andrew Cooper
    • 3
  • Solange Brault
    • 1
  • Molly Lutcavage
    • 4
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resources, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and SpaceUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Large Pelagics Research CenterUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations