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Behavior of yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (T. obesus) tuna in a network of fish aggregating devices (FADs)
Dagorn, L.; Holland, K.N.; Itano, D.G. (2007). Behavior of yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (T. obesus) tuna in a network of fish aggregating devices (FADs). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(2): 595-606.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Dagorn, L.
  • Holland, K.N.
  • Itano, D.G.

    The influence of multiple anchored fish aggregating devices (FADs) on the spatial behavior of yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye tuna (T. obesus) was investigated by equipping all thirteen FADs surrounding the island of Oahu (HI, USA) with automated sonic receivers (“listening stations”) and intra-peritoneally implanting individually coded acoustic transmitters in 45 yellowfin and 12 bigeye tuna. Thus, the FAD network became a multi-element passive observatory of the residence and movement characteristics of tuna within the array. Yellowfin tuna were detected within the FAD array for up to 150 days, while bigeye tuna were only observed up to a maximum of 10 days after tagging. Only eight yellowfin tuna (out of 45) and one bigeye tuna (out of 12) visited FADs other than their FAD of release. Those nine fish tended to visit nearest neighboring FADs and, in general, spent more time at their FAD of release than at the others. Fish visiting the same FAD several times or visiting other FADs tended to stay longer in the FAD network. A majority of tagged fish exhibited some synchronicity when departing the FADs but not all tagged fish departed a FAD at the same time: small groups of tagged fish left together while others remained. We hypothesize that tuna (at an individual or collective level) consider local conditions around any given FAD to be representative of the environment on a larger scale (e.g., the entire island) and when those conditions become unfavorable the tuna move to a completely different area. Thus, while the anchored FADs surrounding the island of Oahu might concentrate fish and make them more vulnerable to fishing, at a meso-scale they might not entrain fish longer than if there were no (or very few) FADs in the area. At the existing FAD density, the ‘island effect’ is more likely to be responsible for the general presence of fish around the island than the FADs. We recommend further investigation of this hypothesis.

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