Fisheries bycatch risk to marine megafauna is intensified in Lagrangian coherent structures

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 2:50pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 07/2018
Authors: Kylie Scales, Elliott Hazen, Michael Jacox, Frederic Castruccio, Sara Maxwell, Rebecca Lewison, Steven Bograd
Journal title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume: 115
Issue: 28
Pages: 7362 - 7367
ISSN: 0027-8424

Incidental catch of nontarget species (bycatch) is a major barrier to ecological and economic sustainability in marine capture fisheries. Key to mitigating bycatch is an understanding of the habitat requirements of target and nontarget species and the influence of heterogeneity and variability in the dynamic marine environment. While patterns of overlap among marine capture fisheries and habitats of a taxonomically diverse range of marine vertebrates have been reported, a mechanistic understanding of the real-time physical drivers of bycatch events is lacking. Moving from describing patterns toward understanding processes, we apply a Lagrangian analysis to a high-resolution ocean model output to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms that drive fisheries interactions. We find that the likelihood of marine megafauna bycatch is intensified in attracting Lagrangian coherent structures associated with submesoscale and mesoscale filaments, fronts, and eddies. These results highlight how the real-time tracking of dynamic structures in the oceans can support fisheries sustainability and advance ecosystem-based management.

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