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Distribution of hotspots of chub mackerel based on remote-sensing data in coastal waters of China

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Sustainable use of fishery resources requires the effective monitoring and managing of fish stocks and fish habitats. Chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus), distributed in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea, are mainly caught by purse seine fishing fleets from China, Japan, and South Korea. This study used fishery data from Chinese large lighting–purse seine fleets and environmental data including sea surface height (SSH), sea surface temperature (SST) from remote sensing, and temperature gradient derived from SST (GSST) during 1998–2010 to develop habitat suitability index (HSI) models. The HSI models were then used to identify hotspots for chub mackerel for each month. HSI models were developed separately for each of the three distribution areas defined for chub mackerel. According to the frequency distribution of the fishing effort with respect to three environmental variables, suitability index (SI) values were calculated and SI models for each environmental variable were established. The three SI models were combined into two different empirical HSI models: the arithmetic mean model (AMM) and the geometric mean model (GMM). The results showed that the AMM was more suitable than the GMM to estimate the HSI for chub mackerel. The monthly latitudinal variation trend of hotspots was consistent with that of the gravity centres of fishing effort in almost all months. Hotspot maps based on the predicted HSI values were validated by fishery data in 2011. This result indicates that the HSI model based on the AMM can reliably predict hotspots for chub mackerel in the coastal waters of China.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of Marine Science, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, 201306, China

Publication date: June 18, 2014

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