Blue shark (Prionace glauca) occurrence and relative abundance in the western South Atlantic Ocean influenced by spatiotemporal variability, environmental variables, and oceanographic processes
The aim of this study was to evaluate spatiotemporal patterns in the distribution and relative abundance of blue sharks and their relationship with environmental variables and oceanographic processes in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. We modeled data on catch records from the Brazilian pelagic tuna longline fleet using generalized additive models (GAMs). The distribution of Prionace glauca was influenced by salinity, chlorophyll-a and temperature. Our models showed that both the catch per unit of fishing effort (CPUE) and the probability of presence increased mainly between March and August. The CPUE was also influenced by ocean depth and sea surface height, and the probability of occurrence by ocean fronts and slope. The highest CPUE values and probability of occurrence of blue sharks tended to occur mainly in parts of the continental slope off Brazil and at the Rio Grande Rise, characterized by the presence of seamounts. Such hotspots for P. glauca could potentially be considered in fisheries management plans.