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Study on tuna species in Mindanao provides better insights for industry players

Science and Technology (S&T) initiatives on managing and conserving the tuna industry were discussed through a technology forum at the 2023 National Science, Technology, and Innovation Week (NSTW) in Iloilo City.

Dr. Edna P. Guevarra of the Mindanao State University–General Santos City (MSU-GenSan) presented the paper, “Unlocking the Blue Economy: Insights of Study on the Reproductive Biology, Dietary Analysis, and Life-History of Philippine Tuna Species for Sustainable Fisheries in Southern Philippines.” The study aimed to understand the reproductive biology, dietary habits, appropriate size of tuna for harvest, and population dynamics of tuna species.

Part of the focus of the study are the neritic tuna species, which are found in the water column over the continental shelf, that is a shallow part of the sea. They are smaller than oceanic tuna species that dwell in deeper oceans. These species play an important role in controlling and managing marine ecosystems. They also showcase the economic importance of tuna since the Philippines is among the major tuna producers in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. 

Based on the results of the study, there are six different stages of the reproductive development of neritic tunas. They also learned that tuna species in Mindanao have a diverse diet and feeding habits. Also, they were able to identify the migratory and nursery grounds of the tuna that will help in protecting and managing the area.

The study provides evidence of an optimistic tuna industry in Mindanao. It was identified that Sarangani Bay is a promising site for pelagic species specially the scombrids or the Scrombidae family of tuna, emphasizing its potential as a spawning and nursery ground.

Dr. Guevarra further explained that understanding the biology of tuna species is critical in ensuring a sustainable industry. Such studies will help set policies and interventions to protect and conserve marine life and ensure a bountiful supply of tuna in the country.