MEPS 456:1-6 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09785

FEATURE ARTICLE: NOTE
Efficient trawl avoidance by mesopelagic fishes causes large underestimation of their biomass

Stein Kaartvedt1,2,*, Arved Staby3,4, Dag L. Aksnes3

1King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Red Sea Research Center, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Biology, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Biology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
4Present address: Institute of Marine Research, 5817 Bergen, Norway

ABSTRACT: Mesopelagic fishes occur in all the world’s oceans, but their abundance and consequently their ecological significance remains uncertain. The current global estimate based on net sampling prior to 1980 suggests a global abundance of one gigatonne (109 t) wet weight. Here we report novel evidence of efficient avoidance of such sampling by the most common myctophid fish in the Northern Atlantic, i.e. Benthosema glaciale. We reason that similar avoidance of nets may explain consistently higher acoustic abundance estimates of mesopelagic fish from different parts of the world’s oceans. It appears that mesopelagic fish abundance may be underestimated by one order of magnitude, suggesting that the role of mesopelagic fish in the oceans might need to be revised.


KEY WORDS: Mesopelagic fish · Avoidance behavior · Trawling · Acoustics


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Cite this article as: Kaartvedt S, Staby A, Aksnes DL (2012) Efficient trawl avoidance by mesopelagic fishes causes large underestimation of their biomass. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 456:1-6. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09785

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