Opportunities for enhancing an ecosystem-based approach to pelagic fisheries management in the high seas
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Open‐ocean fisheries expanded rapidly from the 1960s and currently represent the largest direct stressor on high seas biodiversity and ecosystems. Open-ocean ecological research and the implementation of management actions to mitigate the impacts of fisheries has lagged behind those of coastal and deep-sea environments. I investigate opportunities to enhance a wholistic ecosystem-based approach to high seas fisheries management by: reviewing our understanding of the impacts fisheries across ecological scales, evaluating the gaps and opportunities in the mandates of existing and future governance frameworks and developing methodologies for creating dynamic spatiotemporal management tools to reduce bycatch. Results demonstrate that fisheries are impacting the open-ocean across ecological scales. Results also show that the population trajectories of most non-target species in the high seas are not being monitored by fishing nations, nor relevant fisheries management organizations. A new implementing agreement under the UN to sustainably manage high seas biodiversity could complement the mandates fisheries bodies. There is an opportunity for new technologies and modeling approaches to contribute to the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to management by generating knowledge on the spatial ecology commercial fisheries and high seas biodiversity. My results show that the distribution of target and non-target species, as well as longline fishing activities are correlated with environmental conditions and that these can be predicted across spatial and temporal scales to inform spatial management of high seas pelagic fishing activities. Implementing an ecosystem-based approach will require embracing a precautionary approach to reduce the bycatch of non-target species, which can be accomplished through spatiotemporal avoidance and improving our monitoring of fisheries impacts across ecological scales.
Species distribution modeling
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