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Domeier M.L.,Marine Conservation Institute | Speare P.,Australian Institute of Marine Science
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The black marlin (Istiompax indica) is one of the largest bony fishes in the world with females capable of reaching a mass of over 700 kg. This highly migratory predator occurs in the tropical regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is the target of regional recreational and commercial fisheries. Through the sampling of ichthyoplankton and ovaries we provide evidence that the relatively high seasonal abundance of black marlin off the Great Barrier Reef is, in fact, a spawning aggregation. Furthermore, through the tracking of individual black marlin via satellite popup tags, we document the dispersal of adult black marlin away from the spawning aggregation, thereby identifying the catchment area for this spawning stock. Although tag shedding is an issue when studying billfish, we tentatively identify the catchment area for this stock of black marlin to extend throughout the Coral Sea, including the waters of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu and Nauru. © 2012 Domeier, Speare. Source


Norse E.A.,Marine Conservation Institute
Bulletin of Marine Science | Year: 2010

In a 2009 paper by Worm et al., fisheries biologists and conservation biologists found common ground in recommending spatial planning to benefit marine fisheries and biodiversity. Frontiers on land and in the ocean have few users relative to resources; as this ratio increases, governance suitable to the frontier no longer works because people's interests collide and biodiversity is lost. Increasing ocean uses and troubled fisheries are reasons to shift to ecosystem-based marine spatial planning and management, which reflect patterns and processes of both fish and people. protecting places can eliminate fragmentation, spatial and temporal mismatches caused by "siloed" sectoral management, where agencies that regulate different sectors in the same places largely ignore the needs of other sectors. Modern fishery management does not reflect the heterogeneity of fish populations and human uses. By reducing fishing mortality to zero, one spatial tool, marine reserves, restores large female fishes, which produce more eggs, and aids recovery of species in which females become males at larger sizes. Reserves can also maintain fishes' genetic structure. Australia created the "gold standard" for marine spatial planning in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a mosaic of ecosystems with differing availability to fishing. Other nations are adopting this approach. Even the best spatial plans will have problems that cross ecosystem boundaries, but advantages accrue to fishermen who stay within designated areas and let fish come to them. Areas can be deliberately configured to improve both biodiversity conservation and fishery yields and to save on fishermen's fuel costs. © 2010 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami. Source


Chapman D.D.,Marine Conservation Institute | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Papastamatiou Y.P.,University of St. Andrews | Hueter R.E.,Center for Shark Research
Annual Review of Marine Science | Year: 2015

The overexploitation of sharks has become a global environmental issue in need of a comprehensive and multifaceted management response. Tracking studies are beginning to elucidate how shark movements shape the internal dynamics and structure of populations, which determine the most appropriate scale of these management efforts. Tracked sharks frequently either remain in a restricted geographic area for an extended period of time (residency) or return to a previously resided-in area after making long-distance movements (site fidelity). Genetic studies have shown that some individuals of certain species preferentially return to their exact birthplaces (natal philopatry) or birth regions (regional philopatry) for either parturition or mating, even though they make long-distance movements that would allow them to breed elsewhere. More than 80 peer-reviewed articles, constituting the majority of published shark tracking and population genetic studies, provide evidence of at least one of these behaviors in a combined 31 shark species from six of the eight extant orders. Residency, site fidelity, and philopatry can alone or in combination structure many coastal shark populations on finer geographic scales than expected based on their potential for dispersal. This information should therefore be used to scale and inform assessment, management, and conservation activities intended to restore depleted shark populations. Copyright © 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved. Source


Vierod A.D.T.,Bangor University | Guinotte J.M.,Marine Conservation Institute | Davies A.J.,Bangor University
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2014

In 2006 the United Nations called on states to implement measures to prevent significant adverse impacts to vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) in the deep sea. It has been widely recognised that a major limitation to the effective application of these measures to date is uncertainty regarding the distribution of VMEs. Conservationists, researchers, resource managers and governmental bodies are increasingly turning to predictive species distribution models (SDMs) to identify the potential presence of species in areas that have not been sampled. In particular, the development of robust 'presence-background' model algorithms has accelerated the application of these techniques for working with presence-only species data. This has allowed scientists to exploit the large amounts of species data held in global biogeographic databases. Despite improvements in model algorithms, environmental data and species presences, there are still limitations to the reliability of these techniques, especially in poorly studied areas such as the deep sea. Recent studies have begun to address a key limitation, the quality of data, by using multibeam echosounder surveys and species data from video surveys to acquire high-resolution data. Whilst these data are often amongst the very best that can be acquired, the surveys are highly localised, often targeted towards known VME-containing areas, are very expensive and time consuming. It is financially prohibitive to survey whole regions or ocean basins using these techniques, so alternative cost-effective approaches are required. Here, we review 'presence-background' SDMs in the context of those studies conducted in the deep sea. The issues of sampling bias, spatial autocorrelation, spatial scale, model evaluation and validation are considered in detail, and reference is made to recent developments in species distribution modelling literature. Further information is provided on how these approaches are being used to influence ocean management, and best practises are outlined to aid the effective adoption of these techniques in the future. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Penney A.J.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and science | Guinotte J.M.,Marine Conservation Institute
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/105 on sustainable fisheries (UNGA 2007) establishes three difficult questions for participants in high-seas bottom fisheries to answer: 1) Where are vulnerable marine systems (VMEs) likely to occur?; 2) What is the likelihood of fisheries interaction with these VMEs?; and 3) What might qualify as adequate conservation and management measures to prevent significant adverse impacts? This paper develops an approach to answering these questions for bottom trawling activities in the Convention Area of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) within a quantitative risk assessment and cost : benefit analysis framework. The predicted distribution of deep-sea corals from habitat suitability models is used to answer the first question. Distribution of historical bottom trawl effort is used to answer the second, with estimates of seabed areas swept by bottom trawlers being used to develop discounting factors for reduced biodiversity in previously fished areas. These are used in a quantitative ecological risk assessment approach to guide spatial protection planning to address the third question. The coral VME likelihood (average, discounted, predicted coral habitat suitability) of existing spatial closures implemented by New Zealand within the SPRFMO area is evaluated. Historical catch is used as a measure of cost to industry in a cost : benefit analysis of alternative spatial closure scenarios. Results indicate that current closures within the New Zealand SPRFMO area bottom trawl footprint are suboptimal for protection of VMEs. Examples of alternative trawl closure scenarios are provided to illustrate how the approach could be used to optimise protection of VMEs under chosen management objectives, balancing protection of VMEs against economic loss to commercial fishers from closure of historically fished areas. © 2013 Penney, Guinotte. Source

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