Life below water: Fish spawning aggregations as bright spots for a sustainable ocean

Last modified: 
May 12, 2020 - 5:45pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 04/2020
Authors: Simon Pittman, William Heyman
Journal title: Conservation Letters
ISSN: 1755-263X

Transient fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) are critical life‐cycle events for many commercially important species, in which fish congregate in huge numbers to spawn at predictable times and places. This behavior makes them exceptionally vulnerable to fishing. The “illusion of plenty” and poor access to monitoring tools and techniques has resulted in some FSAs being overfished or unwittingly eliminated. We present a co‐conservation network, formally linking site‐focused partners who cooperatively monitor and actively manage multispecies FSAs. FSA sites and networks offer great potential as conservation bright spots to replenish fished populations, rehabilitate marine ecosystems, and ensure the flow of ecosystem services to the millions of people that rely upon them for their wellbeing. We call for urgent global recognition of FSAs as effective spatial nexus for addressing multiple interconnected global policy targets for a sustainable ocean.

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