Persisting Worldwide Seabird-Fishery Competition Despite Seabird Community Decline

David Gremillet* (Corresponding Author), Aurore Ponchon, Michelle Paleczny, Maria-Lourdes D. Palomares, Vasiliki Karpouzi, Daniel Pauly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Fisheries transform marine ecosystems and compete with predators [1], but temporal trends in seabird-fishery competition had never been assessed on a worldwide scale. Using catch reconstructions [2] for all fisheries targeting taxa that are also seabird prey, we demonstrated that average annual fishery catch increased from 59 to 65 million metric tons between 1970-1989 and 1990-2010. For the same periods, we estimated that global annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million metric tons. Despite this decrease, we found sustained global seabird-fishery food competition between 1970-1989 and 1990-2010. Enhanced competition was identified in 48% of all areas, notably the Southern Ocean, Asian shelves, Mediterranean Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Californian coast. Fisheries generate severe constraints for seabird populations on a worldwide scale, and those need to be addressed urgently. Indeed, seabirds are the most threatened bird group, with a 70% community-level population decline across 1950-2010 [3].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4009-4013
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number24
Early online date6 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2018




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