Member Highlight: Fishing Forecasts Can Predict Marine Creature Movements

2018-10-09T14:06:21+00:00 October 9, 2018|
(Credit: Endangered Species Coalition / Flickr)

(Credit: Endangered Species Coalition / Flickr)

Do you check the weather forecast before getting dressed in the morning?

(From The Conversation/ By Heather Welch, Elliott Lee Hazen, and Stephanie Brodie) — If you do, then you’re making a decision in real time, based on dynamic processes that can vary greatly over space and time. Marine animals can be similarly dynamic. They might move in response to constantly shifting ocean conditions, like currents and fronts.

That led us to wonder: Can we predict marine wildlife like meteorologists predict the weather, so fisherman can make real-time decisions on the water? Our team has been studying established tools like those used for weather forecasts, so we can develop a new program that estimates where marine species are likely to be each day. Unlike a weather forecast, our tool can’t help you decide if you need an umbrella or sunglasses, but it can help fishermen decide where to fish.

Our new application, called EcoCast, launched late in 2017. It was created specifically for swordfish fisherman on the U.S. West Coast, so they can avoid protected species like leatherback turtles and California sea lions, often referred to as “bycatch.” These predictions are designed to help fishermen figure out where they are most likely to find the species they want to catch and least likely to find the species they want to avoid.

Making predictions

To create the EcoCast tool, we studied examples of established tools that make real-time predictions, such as weather forecastshurricane outlooks and wildfire incident alerts.

We found that these tools all follow a similar…

Read the full article here: