SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF TUNA LARVAE IN THE BANDA SEA WITH RELATION TO ITS CONSERVATION
Keywords:Tuna larvae, distribution, Banda Sea
Tuna is the single valuable export fishery commodity in Indonesia, and Banda Sea is one of the main tuna fishing ground which belongs to fisheries management area (FMA) 714. More recently, the northern part of the Banda Sea has been preserved for tuna conservation since January 2015. The reason for this restriction is due to a preliminary of tuna spawning ground was adopted based on the scientific finding. Although conservation area has been enacted, information on the distribution of tuna larvae as a key variable for establishing conservation area in the Banda Sea needs to be improved through scientific findings. This study aims to provide the information on the tuna larvae encompassing the spatial distribution and tuna larval development stage as an important input to establish tuna conservation area. Tuna larvae data collection were carried out from several onboard surveys for more than four decades. Those study consisted of 21 surveys by using three types of gears to collect tuna larvae. Total of 143 stations was sampled from these surveys and tuna larvae were found in 57 stations. The average length of larvae specimens was 7.36 ± 0.33 mm. In general, tuna larvae found in the Banda Sea were in the pre-flexion, flexion, and post-flexion stage and larvae in pre-flexion stage found in the nearshore area. We concluded that the result of this study confirmed the hypothesis that tuna might spawn in the Banda Sea. Therefore, to strengthen this finding, studies on tuna larvae should be conducted regularly to clarify properly that the Banda Sea is an important tuna conservation zone.
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