Throwing light on straddling stocks of Illex argentinus: assessing fishing intensity with satellite imagery
Marine fisheries provide around 20% of animal protein consumed by man worldwide, but ineffective
management can lead to commercial extinction of exploited stocks. Fisheries that overlap nationally controlled and high
seas waters cause particular problems, as few management data are available for the high seas. The Argentinean shortfinned
squid, Illex argentinus, exemplifies such a “straddling stock”. Here we demonstrate that light emitted by fishing
vessels to attract squid can be detected via remote-sensing. Unlike conventional fisheries data, which are restricted by
political boundaries, satellite imagery can provide a synoptic view of fishing activity in both regulated and unregulated
areas. By using known levels of fishing effort in Falkland Islands waters to calibrate the images, we are able to
estimate effort levels on the high seas, providing a more comprehensive analysis of the overall impact of fishing on the
stock. This innovative tool for quantifying fishing activity across management boundaries has wide-ranging applications
to squid fisheries worldwide.
Authors: Waluda, C M, Trathan, P N, Elvidge, C D, Hobson, V R, Rodhouse, P G
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences / 59
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