University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Billfish Research Program

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1 University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Billfish Research Program

2 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Billfish Science Laboratory: RESEARCH FOCUS Uses advanced remote sensing technologies to resolve remote billfish data acquisition for scientific discovery. Initial focus on Tropical Eastern Pacific billfish ecosystem: high resource abundance; great socio-economic value but large commercial fishery impacts; and regional billfish fishery management required. Projects underway in 2011 and Electronic satellite logbook system 2. Hydroacoustic assessment of forage species abundance 3. Satellite billfish tagging Purpose Estimate geographically referenced seasonal billfish abundance indices linked to ecosystem environmental conditions. Estimate spatial and temporal abundance of billfish forage species that attract billfish. Elucidate billfish seasonal migrations and to define habitat use.

3 University of Miami billfish research is framed by ecosystem considerations and with a long-range vision of scientific research sponsored by private individuals that care for the future of billfish species. Sailfish abundance and population density is linked to presence and abundance of forage species. Forage species in the tropical Eastern Pacific concentrate as a function of habitat compression resulting from seasonal surfacing of deeper Oxygen depleted waters. Understanding the dynamics of forage species and billfish population dynamics is paramount for the long term conservation of billfish resources in the tropical Eastern Pacific.

4 INTERACTIVE ECOSYSTEM AND BILLFISH POPULATION DYNAMICS IN TROPICAL EATERN PACIFIC Seasonal oceanographic features Tehuantepec winds Seasonal behavior of forage species (CLUPEOIDS+SQUID) JANUARY-MARCH TEHUANTEPEC WINDS Fragmented forage species schools concentrated with higher density during seasonal compressed habitat. JUNE-OCTOBER Forage species dispersed over wider areas off the coast during habitat decompression.

5 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Billfish Science Laboratory Projects underway Purpose 1. Electronic satellite logbook system Estimate geographically referenced seasonal billfish abundance indices linked to ecosystem environmental conditions. Units already implemented in the billfish sport fishing fleets in Guatemala Results: maps with temporal spatial distribution of the relative abundance of sailfish and bycatch species as well as commercial longlines detected by sport fishing boats. Results provided to users and to plan hydroacoustic surveys of forage species. Results being integrated into sailfish stock assessments.

6 Electronic satellite logbook system to collect billfish catch and fishing effort statistics Vessel with Electronic Satellite Logbook

7 IRIDIUM Satellite antenna Satellite electronic logbook system Assessment of billfish population abundance using catch per trip geospatially cataloged by the electronic satellite logbook system Central Processing Unit Digital Touch Screen Guatemala Digital touch screen to select species Average number caught per day Costa Rica: Sailfish 9 8 Data Generated Catch per angler/day

8 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Billfish Science Laboratory: RESEARCH FOCUS Project starting in Hydroacoustic assessment of forage species abundance Purpose Estimate spatial and temporal abundance of billfish forage species that attract billfish. Surveys will be implemented in February 2012 in Guatemala. Sampling experimental designs based on information on spatial location of ocean convergences and sailfish catch rates. Results will be used to help sport fishing strategies that will enhance sport fishing efficiency and savings in fishing operations.

9 Portable hydroacoustic fish schooling assessment system Assessment of billfish forage species will be implemented in areas of ocean current converges

10 Information generated from the electronic satellite logbook system and satellite oceanography data (see figures below) will be used to design field forage species hydroacoustic assessment surveys in Guatemala 2011 Largest catch rates obtained from the electronic satellite logbook system correspond where ocean circulation converges accumulating plankton and billfish forage species Successful fishing mapping obtained from the electronic satellite logbook system correspond where ocean circulation converges and forage fish temperatures appear less than maximum for the area. Flags indicate areas where most billfish were registered in electronic satellite logbooks

11 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Billfish Science Laboratory: RESEARCH FOCUS Project starting in 2012 Purpose 3. Satellite sailfish tagging Elucidate sailfish seasonal migrations and to define habitat use. Tagging billfish with traditional tags have not generated meaningful information to define migrations and growth. Contrarily, traditional tagging inflicts additional stress to the caught and released billfish without contributing new knowledge. The University of Miami research group has teamed up with the developers of innovative new technologies in satellite tags to initiate a satellite tagging program in the tropical Eastern Pacific with the aim of understanding sailfish habitat use, migrations and seasonality of the species throughout the region. A proposal was developed for implementing 20 tags in Guatemala. A second proposal was submitted to implement 60 tags in Costa Rica. A positive initial reaction by Mr. Paul Jones has been received on this proposal.

12 Satellite tagging to understand migration and habitat use. Innovative and more affordable satellite tags are used by the project in the Pacific, all with unique characteristics: 1) Cost advantages is $1550 per tag versus $3800 of traditional tags. 2) Rechargeable batteries with sun light up to 50 m below surface allows longer useable life of tags; hence, allowing description of full migratory patterns. 3) Increased accuracy in Latitude/Longitude determination due to use of Earth s geomagnetic fields. 4) 3-Axis accelerometer to measure swimming speed to study feeding and migrating behavior. 5) Dissolved Oxygen recorder, depth recorder.

13 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Billfish Science Laboratory: RESEARCH FOCUS Projects in 2011 and 2013 Cost per year 1. Electronic satellite logbook system $150, Hydroacoustic assessment of forage species abundance $140, Satellite billfish tagging $170,000 Total per year $460,000

14 Article appeared in the December Issue of Marlin Magazine mentioning the University of Miami satellite tagging efforts in the tropical Eastern Pacific

15 The University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is focused on addressing fundamental scientific issues in support of billfish fisheries management This continuous research effort will not be possible without the help and understanding of those responsible and interested individuals and institutions that care about billfish and the conservation of the World s Oceans

16 Dr. Nelson Ehrhardt Professor Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science University of Miami

and found that there exist a significant overlap between the billfish resources and the exploitation activities targeting tunas and mahi mahi.

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