Modelling Seasonal Distribution of Pelagic Marine Fishes and Squids

V. W. Y. Lam, W. W. L. Cheung, C. Close, S. Hodgson, R. Watson, D. Pauly, (2008). “Modelling Seasonal Distribution of Pelagic Marine Fishes and Squids,” Fisheries Centre Research Reports No. 16 (Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

The distribution of pelagic marine fishes and invertebrates varies seasonally. However, information on the seasonal variation of the distribution of most pelagic marine fishes and invertebrates is scarce. In this paper, seasonal changes in distribution ranges of commercially exploited pelagic fishes and invertebrates are predicted based on the existing Sea Around Us Project distribution, a prediction algorithm, the correlation between seasonal hanges in northsouth boundaries and sea surface temperature. In the northern hemisphere, in summer (July to September), mobile pelagic marine species tend to migrate to the northern part of their distribution range to avoid excessive temperature near the equator, while in winter (January to March), the same species will migrate southward to avoid the low temperature at higher latitudes. The converse applies to the southern hemisphere. The resulting distributions can improve the prediction of temperature preference profile of pelagic species which are important in evaluating the effects of global warming on their distribution ranges. However, this method of predicting summer and winter distributions of pelagic species can only be considered as an approximation as other factors such as food availability, salinity, rainfall and current are not included. On the other hand, such approximation appear reasonable, given the global scope of the application of the predicted seasonal distributions and the large number of evaluated species (> 160).