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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 641:159-175 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13302

Predicting bycatch hotspots based on suitable habitat derived from fishery-independent data

Jocelyn Runnebaum1,3,*, Kisei R. Tanaka1,4, Lisha Guan1,5, Jie Cao1,6, Loretta O’Brien2, Yong Chen1

1University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences, 5741 Libby Hall, Orono, ME 04469, USA
2462 Blacksmith Shop Road, East Falmouth, MA 02536, USA
3Present address: The Nature Conservancy of Maine, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA
4Present address: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
5Present address: Key Laboratory for Sustainable Utilization of Marine Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Qingdao 266071, PR China
6Present address: Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bycatch remains a global problem in managing sustainable fisheries. A critical aspect of management is understanding the timing and spatial extent of bycatch. Fisheries management often relies on observed bycatch data, which are not always available due to a lack of reporting or observer coverage. Alternatively, analyzing the overlap in suitable habitat for the target and non-target species can provide a spatial management tool to understand where bycatch interactions are likely to occur. Potential bycatch hotspots based on suitable habitat were predicted for cusk Brosme brosme incidentally caught in the Gulf of Maine American lobster Homarus americanus fishery. Data from multiple fisheries-independent surveys were combined in a delta-generalized linear mixed model to generate spatially explicit density estimates for use in an independent habitat suitability index. The habitat suitability indices for American lobster and cusk were then compared to predict potential bycatch hotspot locations. Suitable habitat for American lobster has increased between 1980 and 2013 while suitable habitat for cusk decreased throughout most of the Gulf of Maine, except for Georges Basin and the Great South Channel. The proportion of overlap in suitable habitat varied interannually but decreased slightly in the spring and remained relatively stable in the fall over the time series. As Gulf of Maine temperatures continue to increase, the interactions between American lobster and cusk are predicted to decline as cusk habitat continues to constrict. This framework can contribute to fisheries managers’ understanding of changes in habitat overlap as climate conditions continue to change and alter where bycatch interactions could occur.


KEY WORDS: Habitat modeling · Data limited management · Bycatch hotspots


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Cite this article as: Runnebaum J, Tanaka KR, Guan L, Cao J, O’Brien L, Chen Y (2020) Predicting bycatch hotspots based on suitable habitat derived from fishery-independent data. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 641:159-175. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13302

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