Climate impacts on albacore and bluefin tunas migrations phenology and spatial distribution

Florence Dufour*, Haritz Arrizabalaga, Xabier Irigoien, Josu Santiago

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


North Atlantic albacore and eastern Atlantic bluefin tunas perform feeding migrations to productive areas of the northeast Atlantic Ocean during the summer. Climate change is likely to influence the timing and even the spatial distribution of albacore and bluefin tunas during this event. Thus, tuna catches during their feeding migration to the Bay of Biscay have been analyzed from 1967 to 2005 for albacore tuna and from 1981 to 2005 for bluefin tuna. The results indicate that tuna arrive now earlier to the Bay of Biscay, with albacore tuna arriving about 8 days earlier than 40 years ago and bluefin tuna arriving 14 days earlier than 25 years ago. This represents a rate of change of 2 and 5.6 days per decade, respectively. Besides, albacore tuna mean catch latitude showed an increasing trend over time. Statistical analyses provided the first evidence of the North Atlantic regime shift, as well as climate variability, influencing changes in migration phenology and spatial distribution of albacore and bluefin tunas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge all the skippers that kindly provided their logbooks, and Michel Goujon, Loïc Antoine, François-Xavier Bard, Alain Fonteneau and Francis Marsac for providing and allowing the analysis of the French trolling CPUE database. We also acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. This research was funded by the EU Marie Curie EST project METAOCEANS (MEST-CT-2005–019678). This paper is contribution number 446 from AZTI-Tecnalia (Marine Research).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology


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