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Thunnus atlanticus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES SCOMBRIDAE

Scientific Name: Thunnus atlanticus
Species Authority: (Lesson, 1831)
Common Name(s):
English Blackfin Tuna, Deep-bodied Tunny, Albacore
French Thon Noir, Bonite, Bonite Noire, Giromon, Petit Thon, Thon à Nageoires Noires, Thon Nuit
Spanish Albacora, Atún, Atun Aleta Negra, Atún Aleta Negra, Atún Atlántico, Atún des Aletas Negras, Falsa Albacora
Synonym(s):
Orcynus balteatus (Cuvier, 1832)
Parathunnus ambiguus Mowbray, 1935
Parathunnus atlanticus (Lesson, 1831)
Parathunnus rosengarteni Fowler, 1934
Thunnus balteatus (Cuvier, 1832)
Thunnus coretta (Cuvier, 1829)
Thynnus atlanticus Lesson, 1831
Thynnus balteatus Cuvier, 1832

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-15
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Dooley, J., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Fritzsche, R., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, J., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Cherney, A., Ram, M., Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, HT, Lutz, M.L., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Justification:
This is a widespread, coastal species in the western Atlantic. Landings data show fluctuations without evidence of consistent decline, although some of the major fishing nations for this species have ceased reporting landings. Those countries that are reporting landings do not show evidence of decline. Therefore, this species is listed as Least Concern. It is recommended that this species should be closely monitored.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
History:
2010 Least Concern (IUCN 2010.4)
2010 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Thunnus atlanticus is distributed from Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, south to 26°S in Brazil and the island of Trindade off Brazil (Collette and Nauen 1983), including the wider Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. There is a recent record (2008) from Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago (Travassos, unpublished data).
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil (Trindade); Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Thunnus atlanticus is one of the most common tuna species in the western central Atlantic.

FAO landings (2008) indicate that it is harvested by a wide range of countries with catches fluctuating over the last 20 years between 2,400–5,200 mt from 1986–2006. These landings probably do not include the recreational catch which likely comprises a large portion of the fishery (B. Collette pers. comm. 2009). There is some doubt as to whether this includes all catches throughout its range. Large fluctuations reflect discontinued reporting from a number of areas.

T. atlanticus was the species with the highest abundance in the pelagic longline fishery in northeast Brazil, with an average catch per unit effort (CPUE) of 0.32 ind/100 hooks, representing 56.2% of all caught tunas (Hazin et al. 2001 in MMA 2006).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Thunnus atlanticus is found in coastal waters with a temperature above 20°C. It is an epipelagic species, often found over reefs, bays and offshore. It sometimes occurs in large schools, often with Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis).  It feeds on fishes, squids and crustaceans. The IGFA all-tackle gamefish record for this species was caught off the coast of Florida and weighed 22.4 kg. Maximum recorded length is 110 cm fork length (FL) (Collette 2010).

Around Florida, spawning season extends from April to November, with a peak in May, while in the Gulf of Mexico spawning apparently occurs between June to September (Collette 2010). In Brazil, spawning peaks in November and December. The species migrates to Formosa Bay to spawn from October to January (Freire 2009). During the spawning season, there is an annual concentration of T. atlanticus along the southern coast of Rio Grande do Norte during the second half of the year (Vieira et al. 2005a).

Vieira et al. (2005b) found an average length of 61.1 cm for females and 64 cm for males. The total weight ranged from 1,000 to 5,000 g (females) and 1,456 to 8,400 g (males) for individuals caught in Rio Grande do Norte from September 1999 to January 2001, within a depth range of 20–60 m. The same authors report a sex ratio of 2.1:0.5, with a larger abundance of males. Freire (2009) reports captures of T. atlanticus from 36–89 cm FL along the northeastern Brazilian coast between 1998 and 2000.

According to Vieira et al. (2005b), the estimated average length for gonadal maturation is 51 cm total length (TL) for females and the absolute fecundity shows a mean of 1,541,841 oocytes for specimens caught in Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil. Freire (2009) report size at first maturity at 49.2 cm (TL) for females and 51.3 cm (TL) for males.

Tagging data exists from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) for this species (787 individuals). This data does not indicate migratory behavior (Singh-Renton and Renton 2007). There is evidence of genetic differentiation between the Gulf of Mexico and Northwest Atlantic stocks (Saxton 2009).

Maximum size is 100 cm FL. The all-tackle game fish record is of a 22.39 kg fish caught off Marathon, Florida in 2006 (IGFA 2011).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In FAO Area 31, between 1995-1999, the catch for this species ranged between 2,461 to 3,376 tonnes (Collette 2002). There is also an important sport fishery in Florida and the Bahamas (Collette 2002).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is fished by trolling or drifting longline with live bait. Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are used to increase the capture of this species (Taquet et al. 2000). Males are caught more often than females; in one report males constituted 80% of the catch (Taquet et al. 2000). The largest fishery for this species is off the southeastern shore of Cuba (Collette 2002). It is the target of hand and line artisanal fisheries in the northeast of Brazil (Freire 2009). This species may also be taken as bycatch in the Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) fisheries (González-Ania et al. 2001). There is also an important sport fishery in Florida and the Bahamas (Collette 2002).

Three of the major fisheries (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Martinique) have ceased reporting landings data for this species (ICCAT SCRS 2009).

Nóbrega et al. (2009) report T. atlanticus captures all along the northeastern Brazilian coast by hand-line artisanal fishery, with catches by state as follows: Bahia (57.6%), Rio Grande do Norte (23.7%), Alagoas and Pernambuco (17.7%), Ceará (0.8%) and Piauí (0.1%). There is an annual concentration of this species along the southern coast of Rio Grande do Norte State during the second half of the year which increases its capture by the artisanal fleet (Vieira et al. 2005b). It is fished all over the Brazilian central coast (from southern Bahia to northern Rio de Janeiro State) by trolling and hand-line fisheries (MMA 2006). It is also caught by game fisheries off the coast of São Paulo State (Amorim and Silva 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Thunnus atlanticus.

Freire (2009) suggest a capture-release study, involving Caribbean and Brazilian northeastern and southeastern researches to better establish fishing mortality rates and understand migratory patterns.

Better data is needed from fisheries landings to specifically identify and record this species.

Citation: Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Dooley, J., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Fritzsche, R., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, J., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. 2011. Thunnus atlanticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 December 2014.
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