Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery

Buckley, Sarah M., Thurstan, Ruth H., Tobin, Andrew and Pandolfi, John M. (2017) Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery. Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, 31 6: 1322-1332. doi:10.1111/cobi.12940

Author Buckley, Sarah M.
Thurstan, Ruth H.
Tobin, Andrew
Pandolfi, John M.
Title Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery
Journal name Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1523-1739
Publication date 2017-08-10
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/cobi.12940
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 6
Start page 1322
End page 1332
Total pages 11
Place of publication Malden, MA United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2303 Ecology
2309 Nature and Landscape Conservation
Abstract Aggregations of individual animals that form for breeding purposes are a critical ecological process for many species, yet these aggregations are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. Studies of the decline of exploited populations that form breeding aggregations tend to focus on catch rate and thus often overlook reductions in geographic range. We tested the hypothesis that catch rate and site occupancy of exploited fish-spawning aggregations (FSAs) decline in synchrony over time. We used the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) spawning-aggregation fishery in the Great Barrier Reef as a case study. Data were compiled from historical newspaper archives, fisher knowledge, and contemporary fishery logbooks to reconstruct catch rates and exploitation trends from the inception of the fishery. Our fine-scale analysis of catch and effort data spanned 103 years (1911-2013) and revealed a spatial expansion of fishing effort. Effort shifted offshore at a rate of 9.4 nm/decade, and 2.9 newly targeted FSAs were reported/decade. Spatial expansion of effort masked the sequential exploitation, commercial extinction, and loss of 70% of exploited FSAs. After standardizing for improvements in technological innovations, average catch rates declined by 90.5% from 1934 to 2011 (from 119.4 to 11.41 fish/vessel/trip). Mean catch rate of Spanish mackerel and occupancy of exploited mackerel FSAs were not significantly related. Our study revealed a special kind of shifting spatial baseline in which a contraction in exploited FSAs occurred undetected. Knowledge of temporally and spatially explicit information on FSAs can be relevant for the conservation and management of FSA species.
Keyword Spanish mackerel
agregación de desove de peces
caballa española
commercial fishing
ecología histórica
fish-spawning aggregation
fishing power
historical ecology
líneas base cambiantes
pesca comercial
poder de pesca
reconstrucción espacial
shifting baselines
spatial reconstruction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Nov 2017, 12:40:33 EST