Mapping the bycatch seascape: multispecies and multi-scale spatial patterns of fisheries bycatch

Rebecca L. Lewison, Candan U. Soykan, Janet Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Fisheries bycatch is a worldwide conservation issue. Despite a growing awareness of bycatch problems in particular ocean regions, there have been few efforts to identify spatial patterns in bycatch events. Furthermore, many studies of fisheries bycatch have been myopic, focusing on a single species or a single region. Using a range of analytical approaches to identify spatial patterns in bycatch data, we demonstrate the utility and applications of area and point pattern analyses to single and multispecies bycatch seascapes of pelagic longline fisheries in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We find clear evidence of spatial clustering within bycatch species in both ocean basins, both in terms of the underlying pattern of the locations of bycatch events relative to fishing locations and for areas of high bycatch rates. Furthermore, we find significant spatial overlap in the pattern of bycatch across species relative to the spatial distribution in fishing effort and target catch. These results point to the importance of considering spatial patterns of both single and multispecies bycatch to meet the ultimate goal of reducing bycatch encounters. These analyses also highlight the importance of considering bycatch relative to target catch as a way of identifying areas where fishing effort reduction may help to reduce multispecies bycatch with minimal impact on target catch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-930
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Area pattern
  • Fisheries bycatch;
  • Marine mammal
  • Moran scatterplot
  • Moran's I
  • O-ring statistic
  • Point pattern
  • Sea turtle
  • Seabird
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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