A Summer Tradition: Going after Bluefin

Barb Block on the Shogun Expedition: The team from the Tuna Research Conservation Center of Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are heading out today on the F/V Shogun, a long-range sport fishing boat out of San Diego. We have a dual mission at sea. We are looking for Pacific bluefin tuna for tagging for the Tagging of Pacific Predators project. We’ve been implanting archival tags inside the body cavity of bluefin in the Pacific since 2002. To date we’ve placed approximately 400 archival tags in the Pacific.

We first began tagging giant bluefin in the Atlantic with our sister program, Tag-a-Giant. In the Atlantic we’ve placed close to 600 archival tags in large giant and medium bluefin tuna (approximately 300 lbs or more). In the Pacific, we’ll be working off San Diego, where the Pacific bluefin have just begun to show up.

Our second goal is to collect Pacific bluefin for our studies in the lab. At the tuna center, we’ve been focusing on the aerobic performance of bluefin tuna. These fish, whose tags have shown they swim across the entire Pacific to Japan and back to California in a single year, are the Lance Armstrongs of the sea. They have a superior level of cardiac performance and, on this trip, we have 4 physiologists with us to study the tunas. If we succeed in collecting some for the trip up to the tuna center, we’ll be examining the capacity of the energetics of the bluefin tuna.

The photos below are from our previous trip, and we expect to take many more like this over the next 10 days. ABOARD THE F/V SHOGUN, San Diego, CA.