facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Gulf spill damaged tuna breeding grounds

Oct. 18, 2010 at 7:34 PM   |   Comments

PARIS, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Scientists say they are using satellite data to assess the damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to two major bluefin tuna spawning grounds.

Atlantic bluefin tuna, among the world's largest fish, come to the gulf yearly from January to June with their peak spawning period in April and May, just when about 2 million gallons of oil a day was pouring into the ocean following the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig on 20 April.

The Ocean Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting ocean environments and species, turned to the European Space Agency and its satellites to assess the impact on the two main spawning grounds in the gulf, an ESA release said.

Radar data from ESA's Envisat and other satellites were used to create weekly maps showing the location, shape and size of the spill.

By overlaying the oil spill maps on known spawning habitat areas, it was possible to see where and how often the spill and the habitats had overlapped between April 20 and Aug. 29.

In the northeast gulf, the spill area and the most favored spawning grounds coincided at the end of the breeding season, and researchers estimate the spill reduced the number of juvenile bluefin by 20 percent.

The satellite scans showed the other favored spawning spot in the northwest of the gulf escaped the pollution, researchers said.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Boeing may build NASA's space taxi Boeing may build NASA's space taxi
2
Proposed Texas textbooks teach climate change skepticism Proposed Texas textbooks teach climate change skepticism
3
The NSA will now map out the entire Internet The NSA will now map out the entire Internet
4
Humpback whale rescued off Maine coast Humpback whale rescued off Maine coast
5
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback