Sampling mobile oceanic fishes and sharks

paper8Published online on 18. December 2015

Sampling mobile oceanic fishes and sharks: implications for fisheries and conservation planning

Tom B. Letessier, Phil J. Bouchet, Jessica J. Meeuwig


Tuna, billfish, and oceanic sharks [hereafter referred to as ‘mobile oceanic fishes and sharks’ (MOFS)] are characterised by conservative life-history strategies and highly migratory behaviour across large, transnational ranges. Intense exploitation over the past 65 years by a rapidly expanding high-seas fishing fleet has left many populations depleted, with consequences at the ecosystem level due to top-down control and trophic cascades. Despite increases in both CITES and IUCN Red Listings, the demographic trajectories of oceanic sharks and billfish are poorly quantified and resolved at geographic and population levels. Amongst MOFS trajectories, those of tunas are generally considered better understood, yet several populations remain either overfished or of unknown status. MOFS population trends and declines therefore remain contentious, partly due to challenges in deriving accurate abundance and biomass indices. Two major management strategies are currently recognised to address conservation issues surrounding MOFS: (i) internationally ratified legal frameworks and their associated regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs); and (ii) spatio-temporal fishery closures, including no-take marine protected areas (MPAs). In this context, we first review fishery-dependent studies relying on data derived from catch records and from material accessible through fishing extraction, under the umbrella of RFMO-administrated management. ( … )

Biological Reviews. Early View Article, doi: 10.1111/brv.12246



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