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Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2020, Vol 20, Num, 2     (Pages: 113-125)

Exploring Spatio-Temporal Patterns of the Mexican Longline Tuna Fishery in the Gulf of Mexico: a Comparative Analysis between Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna Distribution

Alberto Abad-Uribarren 1 ,Sofía Ortega-García 1 ,David March 2 ,Cecilia QuirogaBrahms 3 ,Felipe Galván-Magaña 1 ,Germán Ponce-Díaz 1

1 Instituto Politécnico Nacional-Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas. Av. Instituto Politécnico Nacional s/n Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita CP 23096 La Paz, B.C.S., México
2 Sistema d'Observació i Predicció Costaner de les Illes Balears (ICTS SOCIB). Parc Bit, Naorte, Bloc A, 2º piso, porta 3, CP 07122, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
3 INAPESCA-CRIP. Ejército Mexicano 106.Colonia Ex-hacienda Ylang-Ylang C.P. 94298, Boca del Río, Ver., México
DOI : 10.4194/1303-2712-v20_2_04 Viewed : 1163 - Downloaded : 896 Data from the Mexican longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) between 1994 and 2012 were analyzed to identify the spatio-temporal behavior of fishing effort and catch per unit effort of yellowfin (YFT) and Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT), focused on habitat overlap. The applied fishing effort showed significant seasonal differences, being greater and spatially concentrated during summer months (May to August), decreasing by around 30% during the winter period (December to April), when its spatial distribution covers a larger area, probably targeting a higher number of species. The spatio-temporal distribution of YFT showed a recurrent pattern throughout the study period, with two relative abundance peaks: one in June, related to a strong aggregation process along the coast of Veracruz, and the other in November, associated with a broader distribution along the Mexican GoM. BFT occurs mainly during the winter, reaching its highest relative abundance in March, at the beginning of the spawning season. A substantial overlap between the distributions of both species was observed, warranting further oceanographic habitat characterization to be supported. The results, consistent with those obtained in U.S. waters, provide the basis for the development of specific management measures to reduce BFT bycatch in the GoM. Keywords : Habitat overlap, Fishing effort, Catches, Bycatch