Research ArticleECOLOGY

Predicted hotspots of overlap between highly migratory fishes and industrial fishing fleets in the northeast Pacific

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Science Advances  13 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau3761
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3761


Many species of sharks and some tunas are threatened by overexploitation, yet the degree of overlap between industrial fisheries and pelagic fishes remains poorly understood. Using satellite tracks from 933 industrial fishing vessels and predictive habitat models from 876 electronic tags deployed on seven shark and tuna species, we developed fishing effort maps across the northeast Pacific Ocean and assessed overlap with core habitats of pelagic fishes. Up to 35% of species’ core habitats overlapped with fishing effort. We identified overlap hotspots along the North American shelf, the equatorial Pacific, and the subtropical gyre. Results indicate where species require international conservation efforts and effective management within national waters. Only five national fleets (Mexico, Taiwan, China, Japan, and the United States) account for >90% of overlap with core habitats of our focal sharks and tunas on the high seas. These results inform global negotiations to achieve sustainability on the high seas.

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