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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Smooth skate Malacoraja senta photographed in the Jordan Basin Conservation Area, Scotian Shelf.

Photo: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Jubinville I, Lawler E, Tattrie S, Shackell NL, Mills Flemming J, Worm B

Distributions of threatened skates and commercial fisheries inform conservation hotspots

Bycatch is a critical issue in many fisheries yet remains difficult to address, primarily due to the absence of at-sea observations of catch. Here Jubinville et al. develop and test a framework to use fishery-independent data to predict bycatch patterns in commercial fisheries on the Scotian Shelf, Atlantic Canada. Spatiotemporal species co-occurrence between 3 species of vulnerable skates and commercially harvested groundfish was modelled from bottom-trawl survey data. The authors show that species co-occurrence from bottom-trawl surveys successfully predicts locations where the risk of bycatch to skates is elevated. The use of spatiotemporal statistical tools and robust ecological data to help address limitations of current fisheries monitoring can support and inform ecosystem-based management practices.


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