Fisheries Species Richness

Fisheries Species Richness thumbnail


Species richness is a count of the number of different species in an ecological community, landscape or region. Species richness is one of several measurements used by scientists to help determine how biologically rich and diverse a given area is. This map shows the predicted global distribution of 1066 commercially harvested marine fish and invertebrates. Areas on the map with brighter colors (orange/yellow) highlight areas with greater number of different species (higher species richness), while cooler colors (purple) areas with lower number of species (lower species richness). The map shows the highest number of different species is concentrated along the coasts. These coastal areas are also where we find our largest marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangroves and marshes, which provide food and shelter for economically, culturally, and ecologically important marine species. This stresses the importance of protecting critical habitat along our coasts for marine life and fisheries.

A noticeably rich area on the map is the large area between Australia and Vietnam, which encompasses the Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle is one of the world's most important marine hotspots for biodiversity and one of the most productive fishing areas in the world. Many nations in this region depend heavily on fisheries for their livelihood and economy, with fisheries accounting for over 90% of protein source in some countries. This dataset includes a triangle layer a presenter can turn on/off that highlights the Coral Triangle area.

Data Source and Analysis: This dataset came from a 2009 peer-reviewed publication: Cheung et al., 2009. The map was created by overlaying predicted species distribution maps of 1066 commercially exploited fisheries species on a 30' by 30' grid world map. These 1066 species represent a wide range of taxonomic groups and account for 70% of the total United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported global fisheries landings from 2000-2004.

Notable Features

  • Map shows global distribution of 1066 marine species important for fisheries.

  • Greatest number of species (highest species richness) is found along the coasts.
  • Large marine ecosystems are mostly concentrated along coastal areas and provide important habitat for marine life and fisheries.
  • Coral Triangle, a major marine hotspot for biodiversity, is noticeably rich on this map.

Related Datasets