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Because of overexploitation many large fish populations such as tuna and swordfish have lowered almost 90% in numbers. Scientists recommend protecting the Pacific Ocean’s “blue corridors” which are highly trafficked by migrating fish in order to save the species by tracking fish philopatry, or natal homing.
Experts want to use a study which mapped the most busy migration highways in the pacific to ban or limit fishing in the area.
University of British Columbia researchers have used data on where fish are caught and where they are known to spawn to map the migration routes of 11 species. These species are skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye tuna, albacore, pacific bluefin tuna, swordfish, common dolphinfish, striped marlin, black marlin, wahoo, and Indo-Pacific sailfish. The findings still need to be fine-tuned but this far the study have found areas where experts suggest banning fishing completely.
“Those high-traffic areas, two of which are in northeastern and central sections of the Pacific Ocean and two in the southwestern and central sections, should become parts of blue corridors, which are routes where strict fisheries management measures or partial bans of industrial fishing ought to be enforced to allow for increased connectivity of habitats and thus allow populations of marine species to maintain themselves,” says Daniel Pauly, the principal investigator at the UBC’s research institute to Sea Round US.
At this moment there are very few marine sanctuaries out in the open ocean. By identifying and regulating fish migratory patterns, it could have enormous benefits in restoring the threatened species.