Aside from being the oldest seaport in the United States, Gloucester MA is also home to a research lab conducting wave-making research with international ramifications. With an emphasis on giant bluefin tuna research, The Large Pelagics Research Center is headed by Director and Research Professor Dr. Molly Lutcavage, a well-respected and highly regarded fisheries scientist with strong ties to both the local fishing fleet and the international fisheries research community.
From the Large Pelagics Research Center Website:
“Working closely with fishermen and using state-of-the-art technologies, LPRC conducts biological and ecological research on pelagic species including tunas, sharks, billfish, and sea turtles. We endeavor to develop scientific understanding that supports effective ecosystem-based management strategies for these highly migratory Atlantic marine species.”
You can read more about the work and research of this lab by visiting their website: tunalab.org
You can also read more about how these amazing giants of the sea are caught locally in this previous blog post about rod and reel fisheries.
In a recently published article, LPRC released groundbreaking data which served to shed light on a long-standing point of murkiness regarding the growth and development of the two main stocks of bluefin tuna. Currently, giant bluefin tuna are regulated as two distinct stocks, one on the western Atalntic and the other originating in the Mediterranean. Although there is some mixing in these stocks (bluefin can swim amazing distances, and have been known to cross the Atlantic), previous data suggested that the Mediterranean stock develop to spawning age more slowly than their counterparts across the sea. This new study by LPRC calls this discrepancy between stocks into question, suggesting that the two stocks develop to spawning age along similar trajectories. As Dr. Lutcavage notes, “With similar life histories, it’s hard to support the idea that the two groups have vastly different spawning ages. It never made sense.” You can read more about this new study, which has the potential to influence management regulations, in a recent Gloucester Daily Times article by clicking here.