Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Striped marlin study may reduce overfishing

March 30, 2015

Eric Hopton for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

The marlin’s beauty and strength make them the ultimate prize for many game fishermen, but the biggest threat to marlin populations is commercial overfishing. In particular, the Pacific striped marlin are being consistently overfished in the Western and Central North Pacific Ocean. However, a new study may help reduce this.

In 2010, Greenpeace International added the striped marlin to its seafood red list. The list includes “fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.”

To reduce the risks of overfishing, we need good scientific data, especially direct field observations of their vertical habitats. To date, there have been few worthwhile studies in this field. But a new study, the largest so far, tracked striped marlin in the Pacific Ocean. A team of marine ecologists has identified the preferred habitat of this valuable commercial and recreational fish by using direct observations collected by satellite tags. Their findings have been published in the journal Fisheries Research.

The team studied the striped marlin’s spatial and oceanographic associations across multiple regions in the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Southern California, Baja California, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador) and analyzed behavioral data from pop-up satellite archival tags.

The findings
Lead author of the study, Chi Hin “Tim” Lam, said that the data revealed the vertical habitat of the fish. It’s defined by the light-penetrated, uppermost part of the ocean known as the epipelagic layer, within 8 degrees C of sea surface temperature.

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