The Basque expert technology centre (AZTI) specialising in marine and food innovation will lead the first-phase tagging activities in the eastern Atlantic coordinating an international consortium of marine research centres and experts from the Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Spain (Canaries), France, Portugal (Azores), Cabo Verde, and the USA. The award of this contract confirms the reputation of AZTI in international marine resource research, and in tuna fisheries in particular. The AOTTP project began in December 2015, is being implemented by ICCAT, and is funded by the European Union and other ICCAT Contracting Parties.
AZTI researchers will lead AOTTP first phase of tropical tuna tagging activities in four Atlantic areas: Northwest Africa, Gulf of Guinea, the Canary Islands, the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago. Tagging activities will start around the Azores islands when, between June and October 2016, partners from the Portuguese Institute of Marine Research (IMAR) will tag 4,500 fish. In Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Cabo Verde and Guinea Bissau waters, tagging will start in July where a total number of 11,000 fish, divided among the three most important tropical species will be tagged. From August 2016 the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), working with local fishers will tag 6,500 tuna in waters around the Canary Islands. In the autumn, tagging activity will move to the Gulf of Guinea, between Guinea Conakry and northern Angola, where a further 22,000 tropical tunas will be tagged.
The information gathered will be used to improve the provision of scientific advice, underpinning the management of tropical tuna resources in the Atlantic Ocean, increasing economic revenues and contributing also to food security.
The International Consortium of Marine Research Centres led by AZTI includes the following organisations: the Spanish Institute for Oceanography (IEO); the Oceanographic Research Centre Dakar Thiaroye (CRODT) in Senegal; the Oceanographic Research Centre (CRO-CI) of Côte d'Ivoire; the Portuguese Institute of Marine Research (IMAR); the Marine Fisheries Research Division (MFRD) in Ghana; and the National Institute for Fishery Development (INDP) in Cabo Verde. In addition to this, experts from the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the University of Hawaii (USA) will also provide technical advice.