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Assessing the impact of toothed whale depredation on socio-ecosystems and fishery management in wide-ranging subantarctic fisheries


Tixier, P and Burch, P and Massiot-Granier, F and Ziegler, P and Welsford, D and Lea, M-A and Hindell, MA and Guinet, C and Wotherspoon, S and Gasco, N and Peron, C and Duhamel, G and Arangio, R and Tascheri, R and Somhlaba, S and Arnould, JPY, Assessing the impact of toothed whale depredation on socio-ecosystems and fishery management in wide-ranging subantarctic fisheries, Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 30 pp. 203-217. ISSN 0960-3166 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11160-020-09597-w


Marine predators feeding on fisheries catches directly on the fishing gear, a behaviour termed "depredation", has emerged as a major human-wildlife conflict globally, often resulting in substantial socio-economic and ecological impacts. This study investigated the extent of this conflict in commercial Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) fisheries across subantarctic waters where both killer whales (Orcinus orca) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) feed on toothfish caught on longline hooks. Using long-term datasets from six major fishing areas, from southern Chile to the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean, statistical models were developed to quantify the catch removals due to whale depredation interactions. The results indicated that these removals were large, totalling more than 6600 t of toothfish between 2009 and 2016 with an annual mean of 837 t [95% CI 4801195 t], comprised of 317 t [232403 t] and 518 t [247790 t] removed by killer whales and sperm whales, respectively. Catch removals greatly varied between areas, with the largest estimates found at Crozet, where on average 279 t [179379 t] of toothfish per year, equivalent to 30% [2137%] of the total catches. Together, these findings provide metrics to assess the impacts of depredation interactions on the fishing industry, whale populations, fish stocks and associated ecosystems. With an estimated $15 M USD worth of fish depredated every year, this study highlights the large geographic scale and economic significance of the depredation issue and its potential to compromise the viability of some toothfish fisheries which are the primary socio-economic activity in subantarctic regions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:whales, fisheries, fisheries interactions, depredation, subantarctic, Patagonian toothfish, killer whales, sperm whales
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Lea, M-A (Professor Mary-Anne Lea)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
UTAS Author:Wotherspoon, S (Dr Simon Wotherspoon)
ID Code:138533
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP160100329)
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-04-14
Last Modified:2022-08-29

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