Study led by scientists from the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University will enable trade-offs to be evaluated in forage fishery and coastal management
A recently published study provides a first-time analysis of the value of forage fish, which are small, schooling species such as sardines, herring, and anchovies. Three kinds of contributions of forage fish were estimated: as direct catch, as food for other commercially important fish, and as an important link in the food web in marine ecosystems. The analysis showed these small fish contribute a total of $16.9 billion, as both direct catch and food for larger fish, to global fisheries annually, representing 20 percent of the global catch values of all marine fisheries combined.
Additionally, the scientists found in 75 percent of the ecosystem models analyzed, at least one of the highly dependent predator species of forage fish, such as seabirds, marine mammals, depended on these fish for half or more of its diet, and in 30 percent of the models analyzed, forage fish made up three-quarters of the diet for at least one predator species.
A team of scientists led by the Institute for Conservation Science at Stony Brook University examined these contributions of forage fish through a compilation and synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. Ecopath models are a type of food web model that can be used to estimate the direction and strength of interactions among species within an ecosystem. This analysis identified ecosystems that are likely to have highly to extremely dependent forage fish predators, which may assist in ecosystem-based management efforts that consider both commercial fisheries and effects to threatened or endangered species.
“In addition to their value to commercial fishing and other industries that depend on them for their products, forage fish play valuable roles in global ecosystems while they are still in the water,” said Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, co-lead author and executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and professor at Stony Brook University. “By quantifying the overall contributions forage fish make globally to both economies and ecosystems, we can evaluate the trade-offs of various uses of forage fish.”
“The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems,” recently published online in the journal FISH and FISHERIES, synthesized data obtained from multiple independent studies of marine ecosystems around the world that include forage fish. This research was supported by a grant from the Lenfest Ocean Program, and the research was conducted under the auspices of the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force.
The analysis showed the value of the direct catch of forage fish is $5.6 billion. The highest forage fish catches were found in the Humboldt Current models where the Peruvian anchoveta fishery operates. The value of fisheries that are supported by forage fish is twice that of the direct catch at $11.3 billion. The dollar amount of the contributions of forage fish to industries such as tourism and recreational fishing were not estimated for this study, and would increase the estimated economic value of the fish as prey species.
“Most previous economic studies of forage fish have focused primarily on their role as a directly harvested commodity,” said Konstantine J. Rountos, co-lead author and Ph.D. student at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. “By including an analysis of the indirect value these fish provide as prey species, this study provides data to policy makers, fishery managers, and others when making decisions about the harvest of these fish.”
"Considering the ecological roles and support services provided by forage fish in addition to their economic value can result in a win-win situation for both fisheries and ecosystems,” said Dr. Pikitch. “This approach can result in sustainable populations of both forage fish and the larger fish that depend on them, as well as oceans teeming with a healthy balance of marine life.”
Pikitch, E.K., Rountos, K.J., Essington, T.E., Santora, C., Pauly, D., Watson, R., Sumaila, U.R., Boersma, P.D., Boyd, I.L., Conover, D.O., Cury, P., Heppell, S.S., Houde, E.D., Mangel, M., Plagányi, É., Sainsbury, K., Steneck, R.S., Geers, T.M., Gownaris, N. and Munch, S.B. (2012) The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems. Fish and Fisheries DOI: 10.1111/faf.12004For more information on “The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems,” please visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12004/abstract.
The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University is dedicated to advancing ocean conservation through science. The Institute transforms real-world policy while pursuing serious science, both of which are essential for ocean health. For more information, go to: http://www.oceanconservationscience.org/.
With support from the Lenfest Ocean Program, the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University convened the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, a panel of thirteen preeminent marine and fisheries scientists from around the world, to provide practical, science-based advice for the management of species known as forage fish because of their crucial role in marine ecosystems. For a period of three years, the Task Force conducted the most comprehensive worldwide analysis of the science and management of forage fish populations to date, and in April 2012, released their findings in the report, “Little Fish, Big Impact.” For more information, go to: http://www.oceanconservationscience.org/foragefish/.
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine