Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month
– November 2014
Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC)
Tagging of Pelagic Predators – Tunas, Sharks and Billfish
The Tagging of Pelagic Predators (TOPP) research program began as a collaboration among more than 75 scientists from 5 different countries aimed at understanding the migration patterns of large open-ocean animals in the North Pacific Basin. As one of the field programs of the global Census of Marine Life, TOPP successfully deployed over 4,600 electronic tags on 23 species of pelagic predators including whales, seals, sea birds, sharks, turtles and even squid – amassing a dataset of more than 365,000 days of animal tracking data during the decade-long Census. This research produced over 200 peer-reviewed papers, culminating in a Nature paper entitled: Tracking Apex Marine Predator Movements in a Dynamic Ocean (Block et. al., 2011).
Starting in 2009, the TRCC partnered with the International Game Fish Association to develop a collaboration between scientists and billfish tournament anglers. The “IGFA Great Marlin Race” has now deployed 188 pop-up satellite tags on blue, black, white and striped marlin and sailfish, with a growing dataset of over 10,000 days of tracking data. The findings from this study were presented in Congress to help establish the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012.
Since its beginning in 1994, the TRCC has carried out extensive research on Atlantic bluefin tuna, having deployed more than 1,200 electronic tags in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Nova Scotia. The data from these studies were used to help inform the recent management actions to protect the western stock of Atlantic bluefin on their breeding grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, and are providing insights into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.