Summering on the bank: Seasonal distribution and abundance of monkfish on Georges Bank
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Summering on the bank: Seasonal distribution and abundance of monkfish on Georges Bank
  • Published Date:

    2018

  • Source:
    PLOS ONE
Filetype[PDF-4.69 MB]


Details:
  • Alternative Title:
    Summering on the bank: Seasonal distribution and abundance of monkfish on Georges Bank
  • Description:
    The American monkfish is an important commercial species that is widely distributed across a range of depths and temperatures from North Carolina to southern Nova Scotia, including on Georges Bank. We examined changes in the seasonal distribution and relative abundance of monkfish in the scallop access areas in Closed Area I and Closed Area II on Georges Bank using catch data from a three-year seasonal scallop dredge survey. Over the course of the survey, more than 6,000 monkfish were caught and measured, and clear seasonal changes in monkfish abundance were documented. Monkfish catch peaked in the summer and early fall when they were caught across the entire survey area, while they were caught only in deeper waters at the edges of the bank in the winter. Monkfish relative abundance was modeled using a generalized linear mixed model with a Tweedie distribution, and the final model, with month, depth, and bottom temperature as fixed effects, effectively explained the seasonal shifts in the location and relative abundance of monkfish observed during this study. The results suggest that monkfish movements are driven by seasonal changes in bottom temperature. Management measures for monkfish are determined primarily based on data collected during the Northeast Fisheries Science Center bottom trawl surveys, yet this survey catches few monkfish, adding uncertainty to stock assessments. Our research indicates that increasing the use of dredge surveys to collect data on monkfish would be a positive step toward improving monkfish assessments. If monkfish movements are impacted by changes in thermal habitat, their distributions may shift in response to climate change, increasing the need for improved monkfish assessment strategies to effectively manage the species in the future.
  • DOI:
    10.1371/journal.pone.0206829
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6218071
  • Document Type:
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