Applying Bayesian spatiotemporal models to fisheries bycatch in the Canadian Arctic

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Authors Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, Elias Teixeira Krainski, Boris Worm, Joanna Mills Flemming
Journal/Conference Name Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Understanding and reducing the incidence of accidental bycatch, particularly for vulnerable species such as sharks, is a major challenge for contemporary fisheries management. Here we establish integrated nested Laplace approximations (INLA) and stochastic partial differential equations (SPDE) as two powerful tools for modelling patterns of bycatch through time and space. These novel, computationally fast approaches are applied to fit zero-inflated hierarchical spatiotemporal models to Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) bycatch data from the Baffin Bay Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) gillnet fishery. Results indicate that Greenland shark bycatch is clustered in space and time, varies significantly from year to year, and there are both tractable factors (number of gillnet panels, total Greenland halibut catch) and physical features (bathymetry) leading to the high incidence of Greenland shark bycatch. Bycatch risk could be reduced by limiting access to spatiotemporal hotspots or by establishing a maximum number of panels per haul. Our method explicitly models the spatiotemporal correlation structure inherent in bycatch data at a very reasonable computational cost, such that the forecasting of bycatch patterns and simulating conservation strategies becomes more accessible.
Date of publication 2014
Code Programming Language R
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