People love eating fish, fishing for them, and seeing them underwater while snorkeling or diving. In fact, fish provide billions of dollars to the U.S. (and world) economy each year. Unfortunately, overfishing has depleted many fish populations. How can we protect them better, to ensure sustainable fisheries that keep us fed and support our economies in the future?
Protecting fish while they are reproducing is a critical part of an effective fisheries management plan. But to do this, we need to understand when and where spawning (fish mating) happens.
We analyzed over 30 years of data from the southeast Atlantic coast of the US. This allowed us to create models to predict the locations of spawning grounds and other factors that are important for fish reproduction, such as time of the year and ocean characteristics (water temperature and features on the seafloor).