C. Close, W. L. Cheung, S. Hodgson, V. Lam, R. Watson, D. Pauly, (2006). “Distribution Ranges of Commercial Fishes and Invertebrates. ,” Fisheries Centre Research Reports No. 14 (Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Distribution ranges of commercial fish and invertebrates are required by the Sea Around Us Project for mapping of global fisheries catches. However, published ranges exist for only a small fraction of the 1231 taxa, composed of 923 species, 161 genera and 147 higher groups used in the latest version of the mapping process (Version 3.1, representative of catches from 1950 to 2003). This paper summarizes the methods employed by the Sea Around Us Project to reduce potentially global distributions to realistic ranges by identifying key ecological information for each of the 1231 commercial taxa, specifically: (i) presence in FAO area(s), (ii) latitudinal range, (iii) range-limiting polygons, (iv) depth range, and (v) habitat preferences. Furthermore, this paper presents an additional filter that outlines how (ii) and (iv) are used to correct the depth range for the effect of ‘equatorial submergence.’ Several examples are used to illustrate this process, notably the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) and the Silver hake (Merluccius bilinearis). Throughout this paper, the data sources emphasized include FishBase, other fish and invertebrate databases, and online information where applicable. In addition, simple heuristics are used to replace ecological information that is unavailable or missing. It should be noted that the Sea Around Us Project does not explicitly use temperature and primary production for any of the procedures discussed in this paper. The purpose of this is to allow for subsequent analyses of distribution ranges using these variables.