Understanding how fisheries research tools can incorporate changes in fish and ecosystems due to global warming and other human impacts
A lot of fisheries models and tools that are currently used to assess fish stocks have been developed many decades ago, and often aimed at strongly depleted stocks. However, there are at least three aspects were these tools need further research and development. First, fishing and warming are changing growth, maturation and reproduction of many stocks. It is not entirely clear how much of this is due to evolutionary or phenotypic change, but the change is there and it is likely to impact model predictions about stock behaviour. Second, some stocks are actually recovering and possibly entering into a stage where density dependent changes in growth become important.
Traditional models, especially those used for data-limited stocks, typically assume that growth or maturation do not change through time. How wrong are we likely to be if these assumptions are incorrect?
Will it matter for many stocks, given many other uncertainties about their exploitation or biology?
Finally, as fisheries research is maturing it is increasingly clear that a stock does not exist in isolation and that species interactions play an important role in natural mortality and recruitment. This means we need a multi-species assessment, but here uncertainties are likely to become even larger. Together with the team of researchers at the Nature Research Centre in Lithuanian (funded by the Research Council of Lithuania), we are exploring a range of fisheries and stock assessments models and how their inferences are likely to be affected by changes in fish growth and maturation. Stay tuned.
Waples RS, Audzijonyte A (2016) Fishery‐induced evolution provides insights into adaptive responses of marine species to climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14, 217-224
Audzijonyte A, Fulton EA, Haddon M, Helidoniotis F, Hobday AJ, Kuparinen A, Morrongiello JR, Smith ADM, Upston J, Waples R (2016) Trends and management implications of human-influenced life-history changes in marine ectotherms. Fish and Fisheries, 17: 1005-1028