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Estimates of larval tuna abundance in the central Pacific


Estimates of larval tuna abundance in the central Pacific



U S Fish And Wildlife Serv Fish Bull 60(167): 231-255



Certain aspects of larval tuna sampling were studied by an analysis of the catches of the 0, 0-60, 70-130, 140-200, and 0-200 meter plankton tows made on 15 cruises in Hawaii, the equatorial Pacific, and French Oceania. The use of paired nets showed that the catch of a single net could be duplicated, and that plankton nets were therefore reliable tools for sampling the abundance of tuna larvae. Most larval tuna were captured between the surface and 60 meters, with 20-25 percent more between 70 and 130 m., and practically none between 140 and 200 m. Marked night-day differences in catch occurred at the surface but became less at greater depths. Most of these differences were attributable to vertical migration rather than net-dodging. The 0-200 m. tow, fishing through the entire depth range of larval tuna, was regarded as the best of the tows tested. Larval skipjack and frigate mackerel were rarely captured during the day by the 0 and 0-60 m. tows, but this was not true for yellowfin. Both skipjack and yellowfin began to appear at the surface in the afternoon but disappeared at sunset, to reappear somewhat later. This disappearance from the surface was correlated with the rise of the deep scattering layer. The dominant size group in the larval tuna catch measured from 4.0-4.9 mm. total length. Many larvae of 2.0-2.9 mm. total length were presumed to have escaped through the net meshes, while larvae longer than 5 mm. may have escaped by dodging. No significant relations were found between the numbers of adult-yellowfin and skipjack and their respective larvae.

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