Analyses of forage species in BAYS tunas and North Atlantic swordfish in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean
This project proposes to collect stomach and muscle tissue samples from bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, skipjack, and bluefin tunas, as well as North Atlantic swordfish over the course of a full year. These samples will be preserved for analyses by nine to twelve Harvester Researchers, all permitted vessels in the Atlantic Tunas and Atlantic Swordfish fishery from multiple commercial categories. At the time of collection, species, length, date, and geolocation metadata will be collected on a tag. Upon return to port, the Sample Shipping Docks will package and tender the samples for analyses, including stomach contents, stable isotopes, and lipid content, which will be correlated with the metadata.
In addition to the data collection and analyses, this project proposes to produce a professional-quality educational video, which will be posted on the internet, including on YouTube.com, and also made available on a DVD (at cost) for educators or other interested members of the public. The video will include portions of the training, sample collection and preservation, and analyses conducted, as well as interviews with various participants. The Center will also publish an in-depth section on our website, designed for a general audience, highlighting this project and the importance of this research.
The project will increase the scientific data on the forage diet of the species to be sampled, both at time of catch as well as in its recent history through the isotope analysis. These data are is sparse, especially in the Western Atlantic. The project will involve many participants directly involved in the fishery, both harvesters and docks, demonstrating to them a productive way to participate in the resiliency of their coastal communities. The project will produce high-quality educational materials that will be freely accessible to anyone and that could be utilized as curriculum in high school and university marine biology classes.