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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Tagging giants
September 01, 2005

Image showing the migration route of one Bluefin Tuna over a two year period along with a woman tagging a tuna.
The migration route of one Bluefin Tuna over a two year period, and tagging a Southern Bluefin Tuna.

Source: Stanford University

Since May 2005 the University of Colorado's CCAR group has been supporting a Bluefin Tuna tagging program run by the New
Zealand Government's Ministry of Fisheries by providing a custom, high resolution subset of the CCAR mesoscale SSH data
product. The near real-time altimeter data aids the shipboard tag and release program in locating Bluefin Tuna habitats.
This program is part of New Zealand's international obligation as a member nation of the Convention for the Conservation
of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). The "archival" tags are placed inside the belly of the captured fish through a small
incision. While active, the computer chip records the fish's global movement, water temperature range, depth of water
traveled in and, when recaptured, its growth rate. The tags are satellite monitored and will help to provide a much
better picture of the behavior and migration patterns of these fish. As the tagging program moves to new areas CCAR
will update the regional data subset. Altimeter data will also be used throughout the study to better understand the
relationship between sea surface height and the distribution and migration of the Bluefin Tuna.

This is one of the many societal benefits of ocean altimetry data.

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