Bluefin Tuna Spawning Mid-Spill Right Now

This shows the track (yellow line) and daily positions (dots) of a giant bluefin tuna electronically tagged off Canada on October 25, 2008—which spent the period from March 23-May 24, 2009, in the Gulf of Mexico. The track is overlaid on the area of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as of May 24, 2010 (black). Peak spawning of bluefin tuna occurs in this area during April and May. Image courtesy Tag-A-Giant Foundation and Stanford University.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


A new model reveals two major hotspots within the Gulf of Mexico where bluefin tuna prefer to spawn in circular swirling water masses known as cyclonic eddies.

Sadly, the model also indicates the tuna are spawning there right now—and that the hotspots lie in waters befouled by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Gulf of Mexico bluefins have suffered a huge population decline since 1950. A 20-year plan to rebuild the stock has failed utterly. That failure led the United Nations to consider listing the species as endangered last March—a decision they cowardly backed out of. The senior author of the paper in PLoS ONE, Barbara Block, tells Stanford University:

“Both catch data and electronic tags indicate the Gulf of Mexico along the continental shelf is the preferred habitat of this majestic fish. I think it is amazing how precisely we can predict where the bluefin are. Unfortunately their spawning habitat overlaps the Deepwater Horizon oil accident site, and the timing of the spill coincides with the time when we expect them to be there spawning.”

(If you appreciate our BP coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.)
 

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate