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Extreme Eastern Pacific Weather Conditions Affecting Tuna Catch

The Eastern Pacific Ocean has been hit hard by extreme weather conditions, meaning low temperatures and very strong currents, affecting the tuna catch of both small, artisanal tuna fisheries and larger industrial tuna vessels.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a weather report stating that during June below average sea surface temperatures and strong winds causing powerful currents occupied the Eastern Pacific, an important tuna fishing ground.
Unusually low summer temperatures can affect the different migration patterns of skipjack and yellowfin, and the depth at which they swim.
Julio Espinal Mero, from Port Lopez in Ecuador said: “Many fishermen are moving to other fishing grounds because tuna catch in the Eastern Pacific has been reduced due to poor weather.” Having studied Marine Science at university level he estimated that current sea temperatures in this area were between 22 and 24 degree Celsius, which are undesirable for many tropical marine species like tuna.
Ecuadorian fishermen on large purse seine tuna fishing fleets vessels operating in the Eastern Pacific, have felt the effect of these bad weather conditions in which strong currents have caused some vessels to lose their purse seine nets, which can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Ecuadorian fishermen rely heavily on the Eastern Pacific Ocean for the majority of their tuna catch, which globally ranks in the top five in volume. Exporting large amounts of tuna products to many different countries, extreme changes in weather affecting volumes of tuna catch does not only cause problems to Ecuadorian fisherman. If bad weather conditions persist, then Ecuador’s supply of pre-cooked loins and canned tuna to major markets, such as the EU, could become greatly affected.