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Seasonal forecasting of tuna habitat for dynamic spatial management

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 09:23 authored by Hobday, AJ, Hartog, JR, Spillman, CM, Alves, O
Capture of the target, bycatch, and protected species in fisheries is often regulated through spatial measures that partition fishing effort, including areal closures. In eastern Australian waters, southern bluefin tuna (SBT, Thunnus maccoyii) are a quota-limited species in a multispecies longline fishery; minimizing capture by nonquota holders is an important management concern. A habitat preference model (conditioned with electronic tag data) coupled with ocean reanalysis data has been used since 2003 to generate real-time predicted maps of SBT distribution (nowcasts). These maps are used by fishery managers to restrict fisher access to areas with high predicted SBT distribution. Here we use the coupled ocean-atmosphere model, POAMA (predictive ocean atmosphere model for Australia), and a habitat model to forecast SBT distribution at lead times of up to 4 months. These forecasts are comparable with nowcasts derived from the operational system, and show skill in predicting SBT habitat boundaries out to lead-times of 3-4 months. For this fishery, seasonal forecasts can provide managers and fishers with valuable insights into future habitat distributions for the upcoming months, to better inform operational decisions.


Publication title

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Natl Research Council Canada

Place of publication

Research Journals, Montreal Rd, Ottawa, Canada, Ontario, K1A 0R6

Rights statement

© The Authors. Copyright 2017 – Canadian Science Publishing

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified

Usage metrics

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