Exploring the Slope Sea as the Potential Major Spawning Ground for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Michael Dotzel1, Irina Rypina2, Lawrence J Pratt2, Christina Hernandez3 and Joel Llopiz4, (1)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (2)WHOI, Woods Hole, United States, (3)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (4)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, United States
Recent catches of Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae in the Slope Sea have stimulated much interest in this area as the potential major spawning ground for this species. Our prior work has shown that oceanographic conditions, i.e., a combination of advection patterns and water temperatures, in this region are conducive to successful spawning of bluefin tuna. Here we use HYCOM model output to extend our analysis to multiple years to investigate the inter-annual variability in spawning success rates, and we explore the influence of Gulf Stream meanders and Gulf Stream rings on the success rates. We also perform comparisons between oceanographic conditions and spawning success rates in the Slope Sea to those in the other two major spawning grounds: the Gulf Of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea.