Comparative analysis of depth distribution for seventeen large pelagic fish species captured in a longline fishery in the central-eastern Pacific Ocean
Keywords:pelagic fish, tuna, bycatch, vertical distribution, longline, Pacific Ocean
The objective of this study was to estimate depth distribution of pelagic species captured in a longline fishery and to evaluate the difference in depth distribution among species. We estimated depth distribution for 17 frequently captured species based on a Chinese longline fishing trip targeting bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) in the central-eastern Pacific Ocean in February-November 2006. The depth distributions of 13 bycatch species were significantly different from that of bigeye tuna. Although most of the bycatch species were found to be distributed in water depths shallower than bigeye tuna (i.e. increasing hook depths can decrease catch rates of these species), the rates of catch rates declined with increasing hook depths may be different. The depth distributions were found to be not significantly different between genders for 7 species. There was no significant correlation between fish sizes and capture depths. The information derived from this study can play an important role in reducing bycatch in pelagic tuna longline fisheries in the central-eastern Pacific Ocean.
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