CSIRO are using DNA ‘fingerprints’ from individual juvenile Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) as tags for monitoring the size of the population and to provide data for setting the total allowable global catch.
The gene-tagging program is a new approach for monitoring absolute abundance of juvenile SBT. It uses the unique genetic fingerprint of a fish to identify if a ‘tagged’ fish is recaptured. Gene-tagging resolves tag reporting rate issues in conventional tagging programs and is a fishery-independent alternative to catch-per- unit-effort indices.
The abundance estimates will be used in stock assessment models and is essential for a new management procedure to calculate the recommended global catch of SBT. The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna has funded an on-going gene-tagging program for recruitment monitoring of SBT.