Predicting the impact of sea-level (SL) rise on coral reefs requires reliable models of reef accretion. Most assume that accretion results from vertical growth of coralgal framework, but recent studies show that reefs exposed to hurricanes consist of layers of coral gravel rather than in-place corals. New models are therefore needed to account for hurricane impact on reef accretion over geological timescales. To investigate this geological impact, we report the configuration and development of a 4-km-long fringing reef at Punta Maroma along the northeast Yucatan Peninsula. Satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB) shows the crest is set-back a uniform distance of 315 ±15 m from a mid-shelf slope break, and the reef-front decreases 50% in width and depth along its length. A 12-core drill transect constrained by multiple 230Th ages shows the reef is composed of an ~2-m thick layer of coral clasts that has retrograded 100 m over its back-reef during the last 5.5 ka. These findings are consistent with a hurricane-control model of reef development where large waves trip and break over the mid-shelf slope break, triggering rapid energy dissipation and thus limiting how far upslope individual waves can fragment corals and transport clasts. As SL rises and water depth increases, energy dissipation during wave-breaking is reduced, extending the clast-transport limit, thus leading to reef retrogradation. This hurricane model may be applicable to a large sub-set of fringing reefs in the tropical Western-Atlantic necessitating a reappraisal of their accretion rates and response to future SL rise.
Climate change poses significant and increasing risks for Pacific Island communities. Sea-level rise, coastal flooding, extreme and variable storm events, fish stock redistribution, coral bleaching, and declines in ecosystem health and productivity threaten the wellbeing, health, safety, and national sovereignty of Pacific Islanders, and small-scale fishers in particular. Fostering the response capacity of small-scale fishing communities will become increasingly important for the Pacific Islands. Challenging decisions and trade-offs emerge when choosing and mobilizing different responses to climate change. The trade-offs inherent in different responses can occur between various exposures, across spatial and temporal scales, among segments of society, various objectives, and evaluative criteria. Here we introduce a typology of potential trade-offs inherent in responses, elaborated through examples from the Pacific. We argue that failure to adequately engage with trade-offs across human responses to climate change can potentially result in unintended consequences or lead to adverse outcomes for human vulnerability to climate change. Conversely, proactively identifying and addressing these trade-offs in decision-making processes will be critical for planning hazard mitigation and preparing island nations, communities, and individuals to anticipate and adapt to change, not only for Pacific Islands, but for coastal communities around the world.
Colonially-breeding seabirds have long served as indicator species for the health of the oceans on which they depend. Abundance and breeding data are repeatedly collected at fixed study sites in the hopes that changes in abundance and productivity may be useful for adaptive management of marine resources, but their suitability for this purpose is often unknown. To address this, we fit a Bayesian population dynamics model that includes process and observation error to all known Adélie penguin abundance data (1982–2015) in the Antarctic, covering >95% of their population globally. We find that process error exceeds observation error in this system, and that continent-wide “year effects” strongly influence population growth rates. Our findings have important implications for the use of Adélie penguins in Southern Ocean feedback management, and suggest that aggregating abundance across space provides the fastest reliable signal of true population change for species whose dynamics are driven by stochastic processes.
Aquaculture production is projected to expand from land-based operations to the open ocean as demand for seafood grows and competition increases for inputs to land-based aquaculture, such as freshwater and suitable land. In contrast to land-based production, open-ocean aquaculture is constrained by oceanographic factors, such as current speeds and seawater temperature, which are dynamic in time and space, and cannot easily be controlled. As such, the potential for offshore aquaculture to increase seafood production is tied to the physical state of the oceans. We employ a novel spatial model to estimate the potential of open-ocean finfish aquaculture globally, given physical, biological and technological constraints. Finfish growth potential for three common aquaculture species representing different thermal guilds—Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and cobia (Rachycentron canadum)—is compared across species and regions and with climate change, based on outputs of a high-resolution global climate model. Globally, there are ample areas that are physically suitable for fish growth and potential expansion of the nascent aquaculture industry. The effects of climate change are heterogeneous across species and regions, but areas with existing aquaculture industries are likely to see increases in growth rates. In areas where climate change results in reduced growth rates, adaptation measures, such as selective breeding, can probably offset potential production losses.
- Many species and populations of marine megafauna are undergoing substantial declines, while many are also very poorly understood. Even basic information on species presence is unknown for tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline, particularly in the developing world, which is a major hurdle to their conservation.
- Rapid ecological assessment is a valuable tool used to identify and prioritize areas for conservation; however, this approach has never been clearly applied to marine cetaceans. Here a rapid assessment protocol is outlined that will generate broad-scale, quantitative, baseline data on cetacean communities and potential threats, that can be conducted rapidly and cost-effectively across whole countries, or regions.
- The rapid assessment was conducted in Tanzania, East Africa, and integrated collection of data on cetaceans from visual, acoustic, and interview surveys with existing information from multiple sources, to provide low resolution data on cetacean community relative abundance, diversity, and threats. Four principal threats were evaluated and compared spatially using a qualitative scale: cetacean mortality in fishing gear (particularly gillnets); cetacean hunting, consumption or use by humans; shipping related collision risk and noise disturbance; and dynamite fishing.
- Ninety-one groups of 11 species of marine mammal were detected during field surveys. Potentially the most important area for cetaceans was the Pemba Channel, a deep, high-current waterway between Pemba Island and mainland Africa, where by far the highest relative cetacean diversity and high relative abundance were recorded, but which is also subject to threats from fishing.
- A rapid assessment approach can be applied in data deficient areas to quickly provide information on cetaceans that can be used by governments and managers for marine spatial planning, management of developments, and to target research activities into the most important locations.
Wind turbines continuously remove kinetic energy from the lower troposphere, thereby reducing the wind speed near hub height. The rate of electricity generation in large wind farms containing multiple wind arrays is, therefore, constrained by the rate of kinetic energy replenishment from the atmosphere above. In recent years, a growing body of research argues that the rate of generated power is limited to around 1.5 W m−2 within large wind farms. However, in this study, we show that considerably higher power generation rates may be sustainable over some open ocean areas. In particular, the North Atlantic is identified as a region where the downward transport of kinetic energy may sustain extraction rates of 6 W m−2 and above over large areas in the annual mean. Furthermore, our results indicate that the surface heat flux from the oceans to the atmosphere may play an important role in creating regions where sustained high rates of downward transport of kinetic energy and thus, high rates of kinetic energy extraction may be geophysical possible. While no commercial-scale deep water wind farms yet exist, our results suggest that such technologies, if they became technically and economically feasible, could potentially provide civilization-scale power.
Baited remote underwater stereo-video systems (stereo-BRUVs) are commonly used to sample fish assemblages across areas of differing fish densities with little consideration of how intraspecific and interspecific behaviours may influence estimates of abundance and body-size distribution. To investigate these potential biases, the current study compared the abundances and body-size distributions of seven target carnivorous species and six lower trophic level non-target species, across sites with high and low densities of large-bodied target species, using Stereo-BRUVs. Samples were collected inside and outside of an area closed to fishing at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Densities of large-bodied target species were found to be higher inside the closed fishery area, compared to similar areas outside. The presence of large-bodied target species did not appear to influence the body-size distribution of conspecifics, or the abundance and body-size distribution of small-bodied non-target species throughout the deployments. The abundance of large-bodied target species was found to peak earlier in deployments within the closed area than the areas open to fishing. This difference may be due to the higher relative density with the closed area, which may result in shorter arrival times as fish move towards the baited video, and/or to behavioural differences, as fish within the closed area may approach the baited video more readily. This potential behavioural difference between areas closed and open to fishing has important implications for duration of baited video sampling times, and we suggest that shorter deployments times (< 15 min) are less likely to bias abundance estimates of fishery target species.
Studies of oil spills on sand beaches have focused traditionally on the effects of short-term oil exposure, with recovery of sand beach macrobenthic communities occurring within several weeks to several years. The Deepwater Horizon spill resulted in chronic, multi-year re-oiling and up to 4 yr of extensive and often intensive treatments. Of the 965 km of sand beaches that were oiled, shoreline treatment was documented on 683 km. Intensive mechanical treatment was conducted from 9 to 45 mo after the initial oiling on 32.4 km of shoreline in Louisiana, and deep beach excavation/sifting and tilling was conducted along 60.5 km in Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, often along contiguous lengths of beach. Recovery of sand beach invertebrate communities from the combined effects of oiling and treatment would likely be delayed by 2 to 6 yr after the last response action was completed. We introduce the concept of ‘Response Injury’ categories that reflect both intensity and frequency of beach treatment methods. We use the literature on similar types of disturbances to sand beach communities (foot traffic, vehicular traffic, wrack removal, beach nourishment) to describe the expected impacts. Temporal patterns of response-related disturbances can affect seasonal recruitment of organisms and the overall rate of ecosystem recovery from both oil exposure and treatment disturbance. This concept provides a framework for specifically assessing response-related impacts in future spills, which has not been considered in previous injury assessments.
Fisheries usually first remove large predators before switching to smaller species, causing lasting changes to fish community structure. Reef fish provide essential protein and income for many people, and the impacts of commercial and high-intensity subsistence fishing on reef fish are well documented. However, how fish communities respond to low levels of subsistence fishing using traditional techniques (fishing for food, few fishers) is less well understood. We use three atolls in the Marshall Islands as a model system to quantify effects of commercial and subsistence fishing on reef fish communities, compared to a near-pristine baseline. Unexpectedly, fish biomass was highest on the commercially-fished atoll where the assemblage was dominated by herbivores (50% higher than other atolls) and contained few top predators (70% lower than other atolls). By contrast, fish biomass and trophic composition did not differ between pristine and subsistence-fished atolls – top predators were abundant on both. We show that in some cases, reefs can support fishing by small communities to provide food but still retain intact fish assemblages. Low-intensity subsistence fishing may not always harm marine food webs, and we suggest that its effects depend on the style and intensity of fishing practised and the type of organisms targeted.
Artificial reefs are used to protect coastal habitats and rebuild fisheries. This engineering approach to fisheries management has gained popularity in many coastal areas, including China. In Shandong province alone, over USD 50 million were invested in artificial reefs during 2005–2013. Have artificial reefs achieved their biological and economic objectives? We compared reef and control sites in terms of catch and value per unit effort and average body length across species, based on surveys carried out during 2012–2013. We found that in aggregate, with all fish and invertebrates combined, artificial reefs did not improve the overall catches or revenues. Instead, seasonal fluctuations were prominent. However, when we allow for species-specific differences and focus on the common fish species, we find that an artificial reef can increase the catch and value per unit effort on average by approximately 40% compared to the control sites. The difference between these contrasting results occurs because some of the dominant species that comprise the bulk of the catches did not benefit from the reef, while many of the less dominant ones did so. This underlines the importance of being specific about what is meant by “benefiting fisheries” when evaluating artificial reefs, as well as when the objectives of reef projects are formulated in the first place. The positive effects of artificial reefs can be caused by the reefs themselves and by their influence on fishing patterns. Our study was not designed to separate these effects but we suggest that in Shandong, restrictions on fishing access may have been as important as the presence of the reef itself.
Predictive maps of biodiversity patterns are pivotal to marine conservation and marine spatial planning alike, yet mapping of biodiversity indicators at the community-level is neither straightforward nor well-tested empirically. Two principle approaches exist. A direct approach involves calculation of indices for each sample, followed by interpolation to estimate values at unsampled locations. An indirect approach first interpolates individual species distributions and then determines indices based on the stacked distribution maps. We compared the appropriateness of both approaches to provide management-relevant information by mapping the distribution of demersal fish biodiversity in the German North Sea Exclusive Economic Zone using species richness, Hill’s N1 and a novel traits-based community sensitivity to fishing index (CSI). To substitute zero-inflated species with up to 95% zeros in the sample data, we applied each species’ mean abundance value as a flat surface. Spatial patterns between indicators varied, but certain hot- and cold-spots were revealed, which, under current legislation, might suggest that the present level of biodiversity protection is insufficient. Despite both approaches generating similar main patterns, the direct approach predicted a narrower range of index values and only depicted the most dominant patterns. Contrary to that the indirect approach better reproduced the variability in the data, along with additional information on species distributions and a theoretical advantage pertaining to sampling issues. Although the choice over the mapping approach is context dependent, for our study area featuring a community with relatively few species, we consider the indirect approach to provide the more reliable information for implementing marine environmental legislation.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood supply chain fraud are multifaceted problems that demand multifaceted solutions. Here, we investigate the extent to which global fisheries trade data analyses can support effective seafood traceability and promote sustainable seafood markets using one of the world’s most highly prized, yet misunderstood, groups of fishes as a model: the snappers, family Lutjanidae. By collating and comparing production, import and export data from international and national statistical collections for the period 2006–2013, we show that official trade data severely lack the level of detail required to track snapper trade flows, uncover potential IUU activities and/or inform exploitation management of snappers and related species. Moreover, we contend that the lack of taxonomic granularity and use of vague generic names in trade records represent one of the most insidious impediments to seafood traceability, and suggest that widely used harmonised commodity classification systems should evolve to address these gaps.
Declines of marine megafauna due to fisheries by-catch are thought to be mitigated by exclusion devices that release nontarget species. However, exclusion devices may instead conceal negative effects associated with by-catch caused by fisheries (i.e., unobserved or discarded by-catch with low postrelease survival or reproduction). We show that the decline of the endangered New Zealand (NZ) sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) is linked to latent levels of by-catch occurring in sub-Antarctic trawl fisheries. Exclusion devices have been used since 2001 but have not slowed or reversed population decline. However, 35% of the variability in NZ sea lion pup production is explained by latent by-catch, and the population would increase without this factor. Our results indicate that exclusion devices can obscure rather than alleviate fishery impacts on marine megafauna.
In the latter part of the 20th century, fishery research expanded from its original biological base to include new areas, notably investigations of fishing-gear performance and fish-detection by sonar. The past 50 years have seen huge advances in technology and the combination of physical and biological insights in fishery research. Fishing-gear investigations initially focussed on the economics of commercial fishing, but in the 1970s energy consumption in fishing became a major issue. Thereafter, the objectives changed to support for fishery management through gear innovations and research, giving a better understanding of exploitation patterns. During this period, fishery acoustics advanced from crude beginnings in the 1960s to the powerful stock-assessment tool it is today. Progress in these fields has depended on multi-disciplinary research involving both the physical and biological sciences. There have been failures along the way, but there is now good understanding of how technology as well as science can make a positive contribution to fishery management. This essay describes these developments as seen from my personal involvement over the past half century. It concludes with some pointers to the future, and practical advice to young researchers considering a career in fishery research.
Iñupiaq, Yup'ik, and Cup'ik hunters in 14 Alaska Native communities described a rapidly changing marine environment in qualitative traditional knowledge interviews conducted over the course of a decade with 110 individuals. Based on their observations, sea ice conditions are the most notable change, with later freeze-up, thinner and less reliable ice, and earlier and more rapid break-up. Marine mammal populations in northern and western Alaska have been affected by changes in the physical environment, with alterations to migratory timing and routes, distribution, abundance, health, and behavior. Despite these changes, marine mammal populations in the region remain generally healthy and abundant. For hunters, access is the biggest challenge posed by changing conditions. Sea ice is less safe for travel, particularly for more southerly communities, making hunting more dangerous or impossible. Rapid break-up has reduced the time available for hunting amid broken ice in spring, formerly a dependable and preferred season. Social change also affects the ways in which hunting patterns change. Increased industrial development, for example, can also alter marine mammal distribution and reduce hunting opportunity. Reduced use of animal skins for clothing and other purposes has reduced demand. More powerful and reliable engines make day trips easier, reducing the time spent camping. An essential component of adjustment and adaptation to changing conditions is the retention of traditional values and the acquisition of new information to supplement traditional knowledge. Our findings are consistent with, and add detail to, what is known from previous traditional knowledge and scientific studies. The ways in which hunters gather new information and incorporate it into their existing understanding of the marine environment deserves further attention, both as a means of monitoring change and as a key aspect of adaptation. While the changes to date have been largely manageable, future prospects are unclear, as the effects of climate change are expected to continue in the region, and ecological change may accelerate. Social and regulatory change will continue to play a role in fostering or constraining the ability of hunters to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Marine social–ecological systems are constantly changing, and fishers who make a living from working the seas are continually adapting in response to different sources of variability. One main way in which fishers can adapt to ecosystem change is to change the fisheries they participate in. This acts to connect fisheries, creating interlinked networks of alternative sources of income for fishers. Here, we synthesize fisheries data and construct fisheries connectivity networks for all major ports in the US California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Fisheries connectivity networks are comprised of nodes, which are fisheries, connected by edges, whose weights are proportional to the number of participating vessels. Fisheries connectivity networks identify central fisheries in the US California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, specifically Dungeness crab and Spiny Lobster, and systematic topological differences, e.g. in network resilience and modularity. These network metrics directly relate to the social vulnerability of coastal fishing communities, especially their sensitivity and capacity to adapt to perturbation. Ultimately, improving knowledge of fisheries connectivity is vital if policy makers are to create governance institutions that allow fishermen to adapt to environmental, technological and management change while at the same time enhancing the social and economic value of fisheries. In doing so, new policies that account for fisheries connectivity, will lead to improved sustainable fisheries management, and enhanced socioeconomic resilience of coastal communities.
The increasing economic power of East-Asian nations, new technologies, and demographic change in the Pacific Rim countries bring new opportunities for Pacific Islands Countries (PICs). The 21st century is often referred to as the “Pacific Century,” reflecting the rising economic and political importance of East Asian nations and trans-Pacific relationships. This report argues that the PICs can truly make the Pacific Century their own, by taking advantage of new opportunities that are already on the horizon. These developments may help offset the challenges the PICs are facing to achieve sustained high growth, which include extreme remoteness, small size, geographic dispersion, and environmental fragility that limit the range of economic activities where the PICs can be competitive. Indeed, many PICs have seen only very limited increases in per capita incomes over the past 25 years.
Pacific Possible assesses whether fully exploiting new economic opportunities and dealing effectively with major threats could lead to a significant acceleration of economic growth and improved standards of living over the next 25 years. Pacific Possible examines specific opportunities and risks for the PICs in seven selected areas. These include opportunities for increased incomes (tourism, knowledge economy, fisheries, deep sea mining, and labor mobility) as well as risks (climate change and disaster risks, noncommunicable diseases - NCDs) that, if not managed well, could undermine development gains. While Pacific Possible focuses on those economic opportunities that have the greatest potential to drive faster economic growth in the future, it is important to note that other economic activities such as agriculture, coastal fisheries and so forth will remain important sources of livelihoods for much of the population of the PICs and require continued attention by policy makers.
For each of the transformational opportunities, Pacific Possible develops an “opportunity scenario” that considers external developments (such as demographic developments or technological changes) as well as policy decisions that drive the opportunity. The “opportunity scenario” typically presents an ambitious, although realistic, outlook on what is possible. For each of the opportunities, we then estimate the achievable impact on per capita incomes, employment, and government revenue. Comparing this to “business-as-usual” projections, that typically re ect historical trends, gives us the additional income, employment, and government revenue that could be achieved if opportunities are fully exploited and adequate policy decisions taken and implemented.
The report covers 11 World Bank member countries in the Pacific (PIC11-Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). Opportunities and risks discussed best describe the smaller PICs but are also valid for larger countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea), although in these countries there are many more economic opportunities (for example, Lique ed Natural Gas in Papua New Guinea or niche manufacturing in Fiji) which are beyond the scope of Pacific Possible.
Citizen Science is an approach which involves members of the public in gathering scienti c data and, in more advanced cases, also involves them in the analysis of such data and in the design of scienti c research. Bene ts of this approach include enhancing monitoring capabilities, empowering citizens and increasing Ocean Literacy, which can itself lead to the development of environmentally-friendly behaviours. There is a long history of citizen participation in science as a general concept. However, the process of studying and understanding the best ways to develop, implement, and evaluate Citizen Science is just beginning and it has recently been proposed that the study of the process and outcomes of Citizen Science merits acknowledgement as a distinct discipline in its own right.
Considering the vastness of the ocean, the extensiveness of the world’s coastlines, and the diversity of habitats, communities and species, a full scienti c exploration and understanding of this realm requires intensive research and observation activities over time and space. Citizen Science is a potentially powerful tool for the generation of scienti c knowledge to a level that would not be possible for the scienti c community alone. Additionally, Citizen Science initiatives should be promoted because of their bene ts in creating awareness of the challenges facing the world’s ocean and increasing Ocean Literacy.
Responding to this, the European Marine Board convened a Working Group on Citizen Science, whose main aim was to provide new ideas and directions to further the development of Marine Citizen Science, with particular consideration for the European context.
This position paper introduces the concept and rationale of Citizen Science, in particular regarding its relationship to marine research. The paper then explores European experiences of Marine Citizen Science, presenting common factors of success for European initiatives as examples of good practice. The types of data amenable to Citizen Science are outlined, along with concerns and measures relating to ensuring the scienti c quality of those data. The paper further explores the social aspects of participation in Marine Citizen Science, outlining the societal bene ts in terms of impact and education. The current and potential future role of technology in Marine Citizen Science projects is also addressed including, the relationship between citizens and earth observations, and the relevance of progress in the area of unmanned observing systems. The paper nally presents proposals for the improved integration and management of Marine Citizen Science on a European scale. This leads to a detailed discussion on Marine Citizen Science informing Marine Policy, taking into account the requirements of the Aarhus Convention as well as the myriad of EU marine and environmental policies.
The paper concludes with the presentation of eight Strategic Action Areas for Marine Citizen Science in Europe (see summary below with details in Chapter 4). These action areas, which are aimed not only at the marine research community, but also at scientists from multiple disciplines (including non-marine), higher education institutions, funding bodies and policy makers, should together enable coherent future Europe-wide application of Marine Citizen Science for the bene t of all.
- The application of deicing road salts began in the 1940s and has increased drastically in regions where snow and ice removal is critical for transportation safety. The most commonly applied road salt is sodium chloride (NaCl). However, the increased costs of NaCl, its negative effects on human health, and the degradation of roadside habitats has driven transportation agencies to seek alternative road salts and organic additives to reduce the application rate of NaCl or increase its effectiveness. Few studies have examined the effects of NaCl in aquatic ecosystems, but none have explored the potential impacts of road salt alternatives or additives on aquatic food webs.
- We assessed the effects of three road salts (NaCl, MgCl2 and ClearLane™) and two road salts mixed with organic additives (GeoMelt™ and Magic Salt™) on food webs in experimental aquatic communities, with environmentally relevant concentrations, standardized by chloride concentration.
- We found that NaCl had few effects on aquatic communities. However, the microbial breakdown of organic additives initially reduced dissolved oxygen. Additionally, microbial activity likely transformed unusable phosphorus from the organic additives to usable phosphorus for algae, which increased algal growth. The increase in algal growth led to an increase in zooplankton abundance. Finally, MgCl2 – a common alternative to NaCl – reduced compositional differences of zooplankton, and at low concentrations increased the abundance of amphipods.
- Synthesis and applications. Our results indicate that alternative road salts (to NaCl), and road salt additives can alter the abundance and composition of organisms in freshwater food webs at multiple trophic levels, even at low concentrations. Consequently, road salt alternatives and additives might alter ecosystem function and ecosystem services. Therefore, transportation agencies should use caution in applying road salt alternatives and additives. A comprehensive investigation of road salt alternatives and road salt additives should be conducted before wide-scale use is implemented. Further research is also needed to determine the impacts of salt additives and alternatives on higher trophic levels, such as amphibians and fish.
Almost all of the world's fisheries overlap spatially and temporally with foraging seabirds, with impacts that range from food supplementation (through scavenging behind vessels), to resource competition and incidental mortality. The nature and extent of interactions between seabirds and fisheries vary, as does the level and efficacy of management and mitigation. Seabird dietary studies provide information on prey diversity and often identify species that are also caught in fisheries, providing evidence of linkages which can be used to improve ecosystem based management of fisheries. However, species identification of fish can be difficult with conventional dietary techniques. The black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) has a circumpolar distribution and has suffered major population declines due primarily to incidental mortality in fisheries. We use DNA metabarcoding of black-browed albatross scats to investigate their fish prey during the breeding season at six sites across their range, over two seasons. We identify the spatial and temporal diversity of fish in their diets and overlaps with fisheries operating in adjacent waters. Across all sites, 51 fish species from 33 families were identified, with 23 species contributing >10% of the proportion of samples or sequences at any site. There was extensive geographic variation but little inter-annual variability in fish species consumed. Several fish species that are not easily accessible to albatross, but are commercially harvested or by-caught, were detected in the albatross diet during the breeding season. This was particularly evident at the Falkland Islands and Iles Kerguelen where higher fishery catch amounts (or discard amounts where known) corresponded to higher occurrence of these species in diet samples. This study indicates ongoing interactions with fisheries through consumption of fishery discards, increasing the risk of seabird mortality. Breeding success was higher at sites where fisheries discards were detected in the diet, highlighting the need to minimize discarding to reduce impacts on the ecosystem. DNA metabarcoding provides a valuable non-invasive tool for assessing the fish prey of seabirds across broad geographic ranges. This provides an avenue for fishery resource managers to assess compliance of fisheries with discard policies and the level of interaction with scavenging seabirds.