Tracking Map Reveals Tuna Movements in the Coral Triangle Region

Posted on 01 May 2013

Data from pop-up satellite tags attached to adult yellowfin tuna show movements of this commercially-valuable species around Coral Triangle waters.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines – Data from pop-up satellite tags attached to adult yellowfin tuna show movements of this commercially-valuable species around Coral Triangle waters.

The movements of four mighty swimmers named Amihan, Badjao, Hagibis, and Buhawi, can now be followed via a species tracking map, that shows in color-coded coordinates, how far the fish have swam since being tagged off the western seaboard of Mindoro Occidental in the Philippines.

Please note that these tracks are based on raw data and the positions will be readjusted accordingly.

“The data we have gathered so far reveal that tuna movements cover an impressive amount of nautical miles a day, travelling back and forth in a general north-south direction from where they were caught and released,” says Dr. Jose Ingles, Tuna Strategy Leader of the WWF Coral Triangle Programme.

“While still preliminary, the results signify that to properly manage this yellowfin tuna stock, we need to consider similar or complimentary conservation measures along the geographic area of its movements.”

WWF, in collaboration with the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), is conducting a tuna tagging project in Philippine waters to gather more data on the movements of yellowfin tuna.

“Through this activity, we hope to identify key spawning, feeding, and nursery grounds of this much sought-after species and make a case for governments to protect these sites,” adds Dr. Ingles.

The Coral Triangle, which encompasses the seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste, is a known tuna nursery and migratory path, producing about 30 per cent of the total global tuna catch.

The tuna industry is an economic driver in this part of the world, feeding millions of people and providing jobs and livelihood to thousands of fishers and their families who directly depend on ocean resources.

Increasing global demand for tuna, however, has driven the over extraction and illegal fishing of the species, causing an alarming decline in tuna stocks.

Yellowfin tuna are now classified as fully exploited.

“By tagging tuna, we hope to gather critical information that can help protect the species in specific sites during its most vulnerable life stages. Data collected will help inform management plans for a more sustainable tuna industry in this part of the world,” adds Dr. Ingles.

A total of 16 pop-up satellite tags will be deployed on large adult yellowfin tuna (weighing more than 70 kg) throughout the duration of this activity.

Pop-up satellite tags, which are attached at the back of the tuna, collect vital data such as temperature, depth, and light intensity, and are programmed to automatically detach from the fish after three to six months when it floats to the surface and sends out information via satellite transmission and into a server.

Follow the movements of Amihan, Badjao, Hagibis, and Buhawi at

Follow the tuna tagging adventures of Dr. Ingles through this blog:

Editors note:
  • The Coral Triangle—the nursery of the seas—is the world’s center of marine life, encompassing around 6 million sq km of ocean across six countries in Asia-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
  • It is home to 76% of the world’s known coral species, 37% of the world’s coral reef fish species, and commercially-valuable species such as tuna, whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, including 6 of the world’s 7 known species of marine turtles.
  • The Coral Triangle directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna. Its reef and coastal systems also underpin a growing tourism sector.
  • WWF is working with governments, local communities, businesses, and consumers to promote sustainable development in this region. For information on Coral Triangle go to:

For further information:

Paolo P. Mangahas, Communications Manager, WWF Coral Triangle Programme, Tel: +603 7803 3772, Email:
WWF Species Tracker