Global collision-risk hotspots of marine traffic and the world's largest fish, the whale shark

Womersley, Freya C., Humphries, Nicolas E., Queiroz, Nuno, Vedor, Marisa, da Costa, Ivo, Furtado, Miguel, Tyminski, John P., Abrantes, Katya, Araujo, Gonzalo, Bach, Steffen S., Barnett, Adam, Berumen, Michael L., Bessudo Lion, Sandra, Braun, Camrin D., Clingham, Elizabeth, Cochran, Jesse E.M., de la Parra, Rafael, Diamant, Stella, Dove, Alistair D.M., Dudgeon, Christine L., Erdmann, Mark V., Espinoza, Eduardo, Fitzpatrick, Richard, Cano, Jaime González, Green, Jonathan R., Guzman, Hector M., Hardenstine, Royale, Hasan, Abdi, Hazin, Fábio H.B., Hearn, Alex R., Hueter, Robert, Jaidah, Mohammed Y., Labaja, Jessica, Ladino, Felipe, Macena, Bruno C.L., Morris, John J., Norman, Bradley M., Peñaherrera-Palma, Cesar, Pierce, Simon J., Quintero, Lina M., Ramírez-Macías, Dení, Reynolds, Samantha D., Richardson, Anthony J., Robinson, David P., Rohner, Christoph A., Rowat, David R.L., Sheaves, Marcus, Shivji, Mahmood S., Sianipar, Abraham B., Skomal, Gregory B., Soler, German, Syakurachman, Ismail, Thorrold, Simon R., Webb, D. Harry, Wetherbee, Bradley M., White, Timothy D., Clavelle, Tyler, Kroodsma, David A., Thums, Michele, Ferreira, Luciana C., Meekan, Mark G., Arrowsmith, Lucy M., Lester, Emily K., Meyers, Megan M., Peel, Lauren R., Sequeira, Ana M.M., Eguiluz, Victor M., Duarte, Carlos M., and Sims, David W. (2022) Global collision-risk hotspots of marine traffic and the world's largest fish, the whale shark. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119 (20). e2117440.

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SignificanceGlobal vessel traffic is increasing alongside world economic growth. The potential for rising lethal ship strikes on endangered species of marine megafauna, such as the plankton-feeding whale shark, remains poorly understood since areas of highest overlap are seldom determined across an entire species range. Here we show how satellite tracking whale sharks and large vessel movements globally provides a means to localize high-overlap areas and to determine how collision risk changes in time. Our results point to potential high levels of undetected or unreported ship strikes, which may explain why whale shark populations continue to decline despite protection and low fishing-induced mortality. Collision mitigations in high-collision-risk areas appear necessary to help conserve this iconic species.

Item ID: 74491
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: conservation, human impact, marine megafauna, movement ecology, ship strike
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2022 02:25
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards > 199999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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