A new study from IOCS and Stony Brook University scientists demonstrates that globally, forage fisheries are often catching what seabirds, marine mammals, and large predatory fish eat.
Using predator diet and fisheries catch data assembled from 40 food web models, the study, led by IOCS postdoctoral researcher Dr. Konstantine Rountos, calculated the mean trophic level of the catch-- meaning, on average, where the fish catch falls on the food chain. This study also examined a relatively new indicator, the mean trophic level of predator consumption. Looking at these two indicators at once allows for good comparison. Results showed that forage fish fisheries, and marine predators in the ocean, are targeting similar fish. What this means is that forage fisheries require more precaution so that they don't significantly deplete prey availability for species of larger fish or marine mammals, etc. By using this methodology, the study authors provided a relatively straightforward tool for rapidly assessing potential interactions between fisheries and predators.