- During ICCAT/AOTTP a total of 120,000 Skipjack, Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna will be tagged across the tropical Atlantic.
- The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) is implementing the Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Programme (AOTTP) funded by the European Union and other ICCAT Contracting Parties.
- Within the context of a Large Tagging Programme of Tropical Tuna in the Atlantic (AOTTP) AZTI has been awarded a contract with ICCAT for tagging a total of 44,000 skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
- An International Consortium led by AZTI has been selected by ICCAT to coordinate tagging activities at sea among six research centres based in Europe and Africa.
- The first phase tagging campaign will start in June in the Azores and cover a large part of the tropical eastern Atlantic area.
- The tag-recapture data gathered will be used to enhance scientific understanding of the biology (migrations, growth, mortality) of tropical tuna species and consequently to provide management and conservation advice across the Atlantic Ocean.
(May 25, 2016) The overall aim of the AOTTP project is to tag more than 120,000 tuna in the Atlantic Ocean as part of what is poised to become the largest tuna tagging campaign carried out in these waters to date. The Basque expert technology centre (AZTI) specialising in marine and food innovation will lead the first-phase tagging activities in the eastern Atlantic coordinating an international consortium of marine research centres and experts from the Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Spain (Canaries), France, Portugal (Azores), Cabo Verde, and the USA. The award of this contract confirms the reputation of AZTI in international marine resource research, and in tuna fisheries in particular. The AOTTP project began in December 2015, is being implemented by ICCAT, and is funded by the European Union and other ICCAT Contracting Parties.
AZTI researchers will lead AOTTP first phase of tropical tuna tagging activities in four Atlantic areas: Northwest Africa, Gulf of Guinea, the Canary Islands, the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago. Tagging activities will start around the Azores islands when, between June and October 2016, partners from the Portuguese Institute of Marine Research (IMAR) will tag 4,500 fish. In Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Cabo Verde and Guinea Bissau waters, tagging will start in July where a total number of 11,000 fish, divided among the three most important tropical species will be tagged. From August 2016 the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), working with local fishers will tag 6,500 tuna in waters around the Canary Islands. In the autumn, tagging activity will move to the Gulf of Guinea, between Guinea Conakry and northern Angola, where a further 22,000 tropical tunas will be tagged.
The information gathered will be used to improve the provision of scientific advice, underpinning the management of tropical tuna resources in the Atlantic Ocean, increasing economic revenues and contributing also to food security.
The International Consortium of Marine Research Centres led by AZTI includes the following organisations: the Spanish Institute for Oceanography (IEO); the Oceanographic Research Centre Dakar Thiaroye (CRODT) in Senegal; the Oceanographic Research Centre (CRO-CI) of Côte d’Ivoire; the Portuguese Institute of Marine Research (IMAR); the Marine Fisheries Research Division (MFRD) in Ghana; and the National Institute for Fishery Development (INDP) in Cabo Verde. In addition to this, experts from the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the University of Hawaii (USA) will also provide technical advice.
AZTI, an international lead centre for tuna tagging
AZTI is a leading global research centre in tagging campaigns for tuna and other marine species. Its role includes the design, coordination and execution of the campaigns, as well as specific work related to tagging and release of specimens to the sea, which is completed by subsequent collection and analysis of the information provided by the tags. The most important campaign with AZTI involvement to date was actually in the Indian Ocean, where 160,000 fish were tagged between 2005 and 2007.
Later, between 2012 and 2013, AZTI co-ordinated another campaign funded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), in cooperation with IEO and Valencia Polytechnic University, to tag Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and east Atlantic. Furthermore, AZTI co-ordinated the Markaketa programme (2001-2015), funded by the Basque Government, for the study of tuna migrations in the Gulf of Biscay. Over 3,500 Albacore and Bluefin tuna were tagged; some of them being shown to undertake transatlantic migrations.