In a newly published study, a research team led by Sara Maxwell at Stanford University and Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) scientists Elliott Hazen, Steven Bograd, Peter Dutton, and Scott Benson analyzed protected species distributions and human impacts in the US Exclusive Economic Zone. This study combined 10 years of tracking data from the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) project ( www.topp.org
) with a database of human impacts in the California Current System that was developed by a group led by coauthor Benjamin Halpern at UC Santa Barbara. The relative impact on each species was determined for each of 24 stressors associated with human activities, such as fishing, shipping, climate change, and pollution. The analysis yielded maps showing where the greatest impacts on each species group are likely to be. The study, published October 28 in Nature Communications, found that many of the high impact areas are within the boundaries of National Marine Sanctuaries but also that there are areas of high impact & low use by top predators, and low impact & high use by top predators. This spatial information provides good opportunities for improving the management strategies of these protected species and maximizing sustainable use of ocean resources.
NOAA Fisheries feature UCSC Press Nature website Environmental Research Division (ERD)Contacts:
Photo credit: Elliott L. Hazen
Sara Maxwell - MaxwellS@stanford.edu
Elliott Hazen - Elliott.Hazen@noaa.gov Other readings:Block et al. 2011Halpern et al. 2009