Mercury in Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis):bioaccumulation and trans-Pacific Ocean migration

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 



Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) have the largest home range of any tuna species and are well known for the capacity to make transoceanic migrations. We report the measurement of mercury (Hg) concentrations in wild Pacific bluefin tuna (PBFT), the first reported with known size-of-fish and capture location. The results indicate juvenile PBFT that are recently arrived in the California Current from the western Pacific Ocean have significantly higher Hg concentrations in white muscle (0.51 ug/g wet mass, wm) than PBFT of longer California Current residency (0.41 ug/g wm). These new arrivals are also higher in Hg concentration than PBFT in farm pens (0.43 ug/g wm) that were captured on arrival in the California Current and raised in pens on locally derived feed. Analysis by direct Hg analyzer and attention to Hg by tissue type and location on the fish allowed precise comparisons of mercury among wild and captive fish populations. Analysis of migration and nearshore residency, determined through extensive archival tagging, bioaccumulation models, trophic investigations, and potential coastal sources of methylmercury, indicates Hg bioaccumulation is likely greater for PBFT juvenile habitats in the western Pacific Ocean (East China Sea, Yellow Sea) than in the eastern Pacific Ocean (California Current). Differential bioaccumulation may be a trophic effect or reflect methylmercury availability, with potential sources for coastal China (large hypoxic continental shelf receiving discharge of three large rivers, and island-arc volcanism) different from those for coastal Baja California (small continental shelf, no large rivers, spreading-center volcanism).

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury in Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis):bioaccumulation and trans-Pacific Ocean migration
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume 72
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher NRC Research Press
Contributing office(s) Massachusetts Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1
Last page 9
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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