Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-pftt2 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-22T03:23:52.294Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Measuring the swimming behaviour of a reared Pacific bluefin tuna in a submerged aquaculture net cage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 June 2011

Kazuyoshi Komeyama*
Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, Japan
Minoru Kadota
Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, Japan
Shinsuke Torisawa
Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, Japan
Katsuya Suzuki
National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Japan
Yuichi Tsuda
Fisheries Laboratory, Kinki University, Japan
Tsutomu Takagi
Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, Japan
bCorresponding author:
Get access


The swimming path of a reared Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, was measured in a submerged aquaculture net cage to understand how reared fish use the space in such a cage. A bluefin tuna (fork length, FL, 0.51 m) was captured by angling in the cage, and two micro data loggers (PD3GT, Little Leonardo; DST Comp-Tilt, Star-Oddi) were attached to its body. The fish was then released back into the net cage. The PD3GT measured its swimming speed and depth at 1-s intervals and recorded these in flash memory. The DST Comp-Tilt measured the magnetic field strength at 1-s intervals and recorded the heading estimated from the magnetic field strength in flash memory. The fish moved through the water in the cage at speeds of 0.7–0.8 m s-1 and attained a maximum speed of 3.6 m s-1. Burst swims exceeding 2 m s-1 were confirmed only after dark and a significant difference was found between the daytime and night-time swimming speeds (p < 0.001). The fish moved at depths between 2 and 22 m, swimming near the bottom during the day and at 10–15 m at night, with a significant difference in swimming depth between day and night (p < 0.001). The swimming path reconstructed by dead reckoning was visualised using night-time data. For this period, the absolute speed was corrected from 0.75  ±  0.09 m s-1 to 0.71  ±  0.15 m s-1 by removing the accumulated error from the reconstruction vector. This study allowed us to examine the behaviour of a tagged tuna in three dimensions and is the first to monitor the behaviour of a bluefin tuna in a submerged net cage. Although only one fish was analysed, this study provides useful information on the space use of reared fish in aquaculture net cages. Future studies must obtain sufficient data to understand the underlying generalities of tuna behaviour.

Research Article
© EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Anras, M.L.B., Lagardère, J.P., 2004, Measuring cultured fish swimming behaviour: first results on rainbow trout using acoustic telemetry in tanks. Aquaculture 240, 175186. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bauer, C., Schlott, G., 2004, Overwintering of farmed common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) in the ponds of a central European aquaculture facility measurement of activity by radio telemetry. Aquaculture 241, 301317. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blank, J.M., Farwell, C.J., Morrissette, J.M., Robert, J.S., Block, A.B., 2007, Influence of swimming speed on metabolic rates of juvenile pacific bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna. Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 80, 167177. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Block, B.A., Teo, S.T.L.H., Walli, A., Boustany, A., Stokesbury, M.J.W., Farwell, C.J., Weng, K.C., Dewar, H., Williams, T.D., 2005, Electronic tagging and population structure of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Nature 434, 11211127. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dagorn, L., Holland, N. K, Itano, G. D., 2007, Behavior of yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (T. obesus) tuna in a network of fish aggregating devices (FADs). Mar. Biol. 151, 595606. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gautrais, J., Jost, C., Soria, M., Campo, A., Motsch, S., Fournier, R., Blanco, S., Theraulaz, G., 2009, Analyzing fish movement as a persistent turning walker. J. Math. Biol. 58, 429445. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kubo T., Sakamoto W., Kumai H., 2005, Correlation between oceanic environmental fluctuation and bluefin tuna behavior in the aquaculture pen. Proc. Internat. Symp. SEASTAR2000 and Bio-logging Science, pp. 92–97.
Mitamura, H., Arai, N., Sakamoto, W., Mitsunaga, Y., Tanaka, H., Mukai, Y., Nakamura, K., Sasaki, M., Yoneda, Y., 2005, Role of olfaction and vision in homing behaviour of black rockfish Sebastes inermis. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 322, 123134. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitani, Y., Sato, K., Ito, S., Cameron, M.F., Siniff, D.B., Naito, Y., 2003, A method for reconstructing three-dimensional dive profiles of marine mammals using geomagnetic intensity data: results from two lactating Weddell seals. Polar Biol. 26, 311317. Google Scholar
Ohta, I., Kakuma, S., 2005, Periodic behavior and residence time of yellowfin and bigeye tuna associated with fish aggregating devices around Okinawa Islands, as identified with automated listening stations. Mar. Biol. 146, 581594. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Okano S., Mitsunaga Y., Sakamoto W., Kumai H., 2006, Study on swimming behavior of cultured pacific bluefin tuna using biotelemetry. Memoirs of the Faculty of Agriculture of Kinki University 39, pp. 79–82.
Tanaka, H., Naito, Y., Davis, N.D., Urawa, S., Ueda, H., Fukuwaka, M., 2005, First record of the at-sea swimming speed of a Pacific salmon during its oceanic migration. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 291, 307312. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsuda, Y., Kawabe, R., Tanaka, H., Mitsunaga, Y., Hiraishi, T., Yamamoto, K., Nashimoto, K., 2006, Monitoring the spawning behaviour of chum salmon with an acceleration data logger. Ecol. Freshw. Fishes 15, 264274. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shin, H., Lee, D., Shin, H., 2003, Behavior of Israeli carp Cyprinus carpio traced by long baseline telemetry techniques during dynamite explosion work. Fish. Sci. 69. 2736. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shiomi, K., Sato, K., Mitamura, H., Arai, N., Naito, Y., Ponganis, P.J., 2008, Effect of ocean current on the 3-D dive paths of Emperor penguins estimated by dead-reckoning. Aquat. Biol. 2, 265270. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suzuki, K., Takagi, T., Hiraishi, T., 2003, Video analysis of fish schooling behavior in finite space using a mathematical model. Fish. Res. 30, 310. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suzuki K., Torisawa S., Takagi T., 2009, Numerical analysis of net cage dynamic behavior due to concurrent waves and current. Proc. ASME 2009, 28th Internat. Conf. on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, pp. 1–8.
Yasuda, T., Arai, N., 2009, Changes in flipper beat frequency, body angle and swimming speed of female green turtles Chelonia mydas. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 386, 275286. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wardle, C.S., Videler, J.J., Arimoto, T., Franco, J.M., He, P., 1989, The muscle twitch and the maximum swimming speed of giant bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus L. J. Fish Biol. 35, 129137. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, R.P., Wilson, M.P., Link, R., Mempel, H., Adams, N. J., 1991, Determination of movements of African penguins Spheniscus demersus using a compass system: dead reckoning may be an alternative to telemetry. J. Exp. Biol. 157, 557564. Google Scholar