UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Philopatry as a Tool to Define Tentative Closed Migration Cycles and Conservation Areas for Large Pelagic Fishes in the Pacific Relano, Veronica; Pauly, D. (Daniel)


Migrations of large pelagic fishes across the Pacific are usually inferred from tagging or genetic studies. Even though these techniques have improved over time, they still fail to demonstrate large transoceanic migrations, usually proposing ‘routes’ that do not cycle seasonally. The current study uses the concept of ‘philopatry’ in 11 large pelagic fish species, i.e., the tendency for animals to return to their natal site to reproduce. Tentative migration routes and maps emerge by applying this concept to the movements extracted through a comprehensive review of the literature on satellite and conventional tagging, and population and subpopulation linkages inferred from genetic and/or genomic studies. Moreover, when comparing these proposed migration routes and the mapped reconstructed catch (1950–2016, Sea Around Us) of each species in the Pacific, similarities emerge, reinforcing the accuracy of these migration cycles informed by philopatry. Finally, by superposing the migration routes of our 11 species, we identified areas of the Pacific that are part of the inferred migration routes of multiple species, leading to a discussion of possible ‘blue corridors’ that would protect the studied species’ key migration routes and stocks, which are important for the fisheries, culture and nutrition of Pacific islanders.

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