Impacts of fishing on seabirds - Call for papers from the ICES Journal of Marine Science

richard-phillipsRichard Phillips
  • 23 Jul

The ICES Journal of Marine Science (ICES JMS) strives to advance marine science by making judicious use of themed article sets (TSs). TSs are series of coordinated contributions – introduced by a synthetic overview – on a selected topic. Both individually and collectively, TSs are instrumental in focusing attention, triggering opinions and stimulating ideas, discussion and activity in specific research fields.

We invite you to participate in a TS on Impacts of fishing on seabirds.

Commercial fisheries have significantly altered the marine environment, with profound consequences for seabird communities worldwide. Fishing has had positive effects for some species (e.g. by providing food subsidies in the form of discards) although the majority of impacts have been negative. For instance, competition for the same stocks, incidental mortality (bycatch), or fishery-driven changes in stock structure are among the biggest threats to seabirds globally. Understanding fisheries impacts, as well as mitigating any deleterious consequences, is therefore a crucial goal in marine ecological research.

We are at a critical time for marine birds. Many seabird populations are declining, and pressure is increasing further as the world’s human population grows, the planet warms, and the oceans are overexploited. Mitigating fisheries impacts is essential for slowing or reversing seabird population declines, but many unknowns hinder progress.

There is, however, cause for optimism. Mitigation measures such as bycatch-reduction strategies and fisheries closures clearly work, providing dividends for many seabirds. Moreover, technological advances mean we have unprecedented information on the distribution and behaviour of both vessels and seabirds, and on interactions at ever-finer spatial scales.

We welcome contributions to this TS that, among other things:

• quantify seabird-fishery interactions, particularly using novel methods (e.g. machine learning-artificial intelligence, alternative bio-logging etc);
• estimate the impact of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing on seabirds;
• estimate seabird bycatch rates and efficacy of mitigation measures;
• assess competition between seabirds and forage fisheries;
• quantify combined effects of fisheries and other environmental changes on seabirds;
• understand how oceanographic features influence seabird-fishery interactions;
• assess the impact of discards or changes in discard policy on seabird species or communities;
• propose future directions for managing fisheries to benefit seabirds.

Submissions can address these topics by studying seabird responses at the level of the individual, population or community.

In addition to original research articles, contributions can take the form of a review, a “Food for Thought” essay which deals with a thought-provoking or controversial issue, a “Quo Vadimus” essay which describes what you see as the future of the field, question or issue, or a “Stories from the front lines” essay in which you provide a substantive account of challenges, wins and losses on any aspect of ocean and coastal sustainability, written as a narrative and drawing at least partly on the author(s) experience.

Manuscripts should be prepared following the technical guidelines that can be found on the ICES JMS web site and should be submitted following the standard procedure. Please state in your cover letter that the article is intended for inclusion in this TS. Manuscripts will be subjected to the standard ICES JMS review process, overseen and coordinated by the editors.

Publication of TSs occurs on a “build as it goes” basis; articles will normally appear online within 3-4 weeks of their acceptance in final form. That means that publication of the first article accepted will not be delayed by the last article accepted.

The deadline for submissions is 31st March 2022.

You can also submit at any time before the deadline - your article will be published online as soon as it is finalized (it will not be held back until the TS is complete).

We would appreciate receiving an indication of your interest in contributing at your earliest convenience (by email to Steve Votier). We hope that you will accept this invitation and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Votier (
Richard Phillips (
Kylie Scales (
Kees Camphuysen (