University of Tasmania

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Modelling and mapping resource overlap between seabirds and fisheries on a global scale: A preliminary assessment

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 17:05 authored by Karpouzi, VS, Reginald WatsonReginald Watson, Pauly, D
Coexistence of foraging seabirds and operating fisheries may result in interactions such as competition for the same prey resources. We used GIS-based modelling at a scale of 0.5 x 0.5° spatial cells to: (1) map the foraging distribution of seabirds; (2) predict their annual food consumption rates in a spatially explicit manner; and (3) estimate a spatially explicit seabird-fisheries overlap index. Information on population size, diet composition and foraging attributes of 351 seabird species was compiled into a Microsoft Access database. Global annual food consumption by seabirds was estimated to be 96.4 million tonnes (95% CI: 78.0 to 114.7 million tonnes), compared with a total catch of nearly 120 million tonnes by all marine fisheries. Krill and cephalopods comprised over 58 % of the overall food consumed and fish most of the remainder. The families Procellariidae (albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters) and Spheniscidae (penguins) were responsible for over 54 % of the overall food consumption. Seabird foraging distribution maps revealed that areas around New Zealand, the eastern Australian coast, and the sub-Antarctic islands had high species richness. However, temperate and polar regions supported high seabird densities and most food extracted by seabirds originated there. Furthermore, maps of food consumption rates revealed that most food consumed by seabirds was extracted from offshore rather than nearshore waters and from areas where seabird-fisheries overlap was low. The resource overlap maps identified 'hotspots' of highest potential for conflict between fisheries and seabirds. Thus, this study may provide useful insight when developing management approaches for designing offshore marine conservation areas. © Inter-Research 2007.


Publication title

Marine Ecology Progress Series








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)