South Pacific albacore is a species of primary importance in the longline fishery of a number of Small Island Developing States in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Despite the fact that the stock is assessed as not being subject to overfishing and not overfished, economic returns have declined significantly over the past decade. This has led to calls for management intervention. Given stated biological and economic objectives for the fishery, members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency proposed an interim stock target reference point to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that would imply a larger stock size, higher catch rates and a more profitable fishery (FFA Members, 2015). The purpose of this study is to examine the biological and economic consequences along the trajectories of two distinct longline effort reduction regimes that achieve the proposed target reference point within 20 years and review the trade-offs in terms of forgone catch or effort and forgone revenue. The two effort regimes examined are a one-off reduction implemented immediately, and a phased reduction under which effort is reduced by a fixed percent each year. The results are discussed in the light of wider Pacific Island objectives for fishery production and fleet profitability and highlights the importance of moving beyond a purely biological stock-based focus when providing management advice.
The transition of plants and animals from sea to land required adaptation to a very different physical and chemical environment. In this paper, we focus on the consequences of the differences between the magnitude of the variability of ocean and atmospheric dynamics, with the ocean environment (in particular temperature and currents) being two to three orders of magnitude less variable than that on land. We suggest that greater insights on possible responses of marine vs. terrestrial systems to rapid climate change can be gained by considering that terrestrial vertebrates, invertebrates and plants have evolved from marine organisms that, pre-Cambrian, had early life history developmental stages as planktonic larvae. Marine larvae were/are adapted to the predictable and minimal range of temperature changes and regularities in ocean currents, as most organisms utilize the energy in these currents as an “auxiliary” source for predictable gamete and larvae dispersal. Post-Cambrian, on land, no such simple strategy was available; instead, most terrestrial organisms have evolved reproductive strategies and behaviours to eliminate, or at least minimize, the consequences of much larger atmospheric variability. Adapting our future use of these systems sensibly will require greater understanding of how the two regimes respond to rapid climate change.
Dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the overall physiological performance (growth, development, respiration, reproduction, etc.) of an organism over the course of its life cycle. We present here a simplified DEB model for the swimming crab Liocarcinus depurator. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first to be presented for this species. Most applications of the standard DEB model assume continuous growth in all size metrics (length, wet mass, carbon content) of the modelled species. However, in crustaceans growth, measured as an increase of carapace length/width, occurs periodically via moult. To account for this, we have extended the model to track the continuous increase in carbon mass as well as the episodic increase in physical size. Model predictions were consistent with the patterns in the observed data, predicting both the moult increment and the intermoult period of an individual. In addition to presenting the model itself, we also make recommendations for further development, and evaluate the potential applications of such a model, both at the individual level (e.g. aquaculture) and as a potential tool for population level dynamics (e.g. fisheries stock assessment).
In this period of environmental change, understanding how resource users respond to such changes is critical for effective resource management and adaptation planning. Extensive work has focused on natural resource responses to environmental changes, but less has examined the response of resource users to such changes. We used an interdisciplinary approach to analyse changes in resource use among commercial trawl fishing communities in the northwest Atlantic, a region that has shown poleward shifts in harvested fish species. We found substantial community-level changes in fishing patterns since 1996: southern trawl fleets of larger vessels with low catch diversity fished up to 400 km further north, while trawl fleets of smaller vessels with low catch diversity shrank or disappeared from the data set over time. In contrast, trawl fleets (of both large and small vessels) with higher catch diversity neither changed fishing location dramatically or nor disappeared as often from the data set. This analysis suggests that catch diversity and high mobility may buffer fishing communities from effects of environmental change. Particularly in times of rapid and uncertain change, constructing diverse portfolios and allowing for fleet mobility may represent effective adaptation strategies.
Most reporting of stock status accumulated at a national or regional level gives statistics on what proportion of the stocks are below some abundance threshold or above some fishing mortality rate threshold. This approach does not convey useful information on the performance of the fisheries management system in maximizing long-term sustainable yield, which is the primary objective of most national and international fisheries legislation. In this paper, I present a graphical approach for representing how much yield is being lost as a consequence of current suboptimal abundance and fishing pressure. Using the EU stocks assessed by ICES as an example, I show how traditional criteria for overfished and overfishing fail to display realistic information about the performance of the fishery. This approach provides much more useful information for the public and policy makers.
Mandates to execute ecosystem-based management exist but are not implemented sufficiently enough to reap the benefits of a growing blue economy.
The production of marine habitat maps typically relies on the use of habitat classification schemes (HCSs). The choice of which HCS to use for a mapping study is often related to familiarity, established practice, and national desires. Despite a superficial similarity, HCSs differ greatly across six key properties, namely, purpose, environmental and ecological scope, spatial scale, thematic resolution, structure, and compatibility with mapping techniques. These properties impart specific strengths and weaknesses for each HCS, which are subsequently transferred to the habitat maps applying these schemes. This review has examined seven HCSs (that are commonly used and widely adopted for national and international mapping programmes), over the six properties, to understand their influence on marine habitat mapping. In addition, variation in how mappers interpret and apply HCSs introduces additional uncertainties and biases into the final maps. Recommendations are provided for improving HCSs for marine habitat mapping as well as for enhancing the working practices of mappers using habitat classification. It is hoped that implementation of these recommendations will lead to greater certainty and usage within mapping studies and more consistency between studies and adjoining maps.
The appetite for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) approaches has grown, but the perception persists that implementation is slow. Here, we synthesize progress toward implementing EBFM in the United States through one potential avenue: expanding fish stock assessments to include ecosystem considerations and interactions between species, fleets, and sectors. We reviewed over 200 stock assessments and assessed how the stock assessment reports included information about system influences on the assessed stock. Our goals were to quantify whether and how assessments incorporated broader system-level considerations, and to explore factors that might contribute to the use of system-level information. Interactions among fishing fleets (technical interactions) were more commonly included than biophysical interactions (species, habitat, climate). Interactions within the physical environment (habitat, climate) were included twice as often as interactions among species (predation). Many assessment reports included ecological interactions only as background or qualitative considerations, rather than incorporating them in the assessment model. Our analyses suggested that ecosystem characteristics are more likely to be included when the species was overfished (stock status), the assessment is conducted at a science centre with a longstanding stomach contents analysis program, and/or the species life history characteristics suggest it is likely to be influenced by the physical environment, habitat, or predation mortality (short-lived species, sessile benthic species, or low trophic-level species). Regional differences in stomach contents analysis programs may limit the inclusion of predation mortality in stock assessments, and more guidance is needed on best practices for the prioritization of when and how biophysical information should be considered. However, our results demonstrate that significant progress has been made to use best available science and data to expand single-species stock assessments, particularly when a broad definition of EBFM is applied.
The debate over Brexit and the fisheries question has focused very largely on the expected benefits for the UK's fishing industry to the virtual exclusion of potential implications for the seafood supply chain. This paper refocuses attention on a supply chain now heavily dependent on both imports and exports of fish and fish products mainly to EU markets. Brexit could pose potentially significant problems arising from the imposition of tariff and non-tariff restrictions on trade and limitation on future movements of semi-skilled and unskilled EU migrants into the UK labour market. Three elements of the supply chain are likely to be directly affected: the shellfish and small scale fisheries sectors impacted by tariff and non-tariff restrictions and perhaps most significantly the fish processing industry, similarly affected by trade restrictions and heavily dependent on EU labour. Brexit has also been the catalyst for renewed pressures in Scotland for further devolution of powers relating to the fishing industry that at some future date could see the development of two distinctive seafood supply chains within the UK.
The ability to perceive and recognise a reflected mirror image as self (mirror self-recognition, MSR) is considered a hallmark of cognition across species. Although MSR has been reported in mammals and birds, it is not known to occur in any other major taxon. Potentially limiting our ability to test for MSR in other taxa is that the established assay, the mark test, requires that animals display contingency testing and self-directed behaviour. These behaviours may be difficult for humans to interpret in taxonomically divergent animals, especially those that lack the dexterity (or limbs) required to touch a mark. Here, we show that a fish, the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus, shows behaviour that may reasonably be interpreted as passing through all phases of the mark test: (i) social reactions towards the reflection, (ii) repeated idiosyncratic behaviours towards the mirror, and (iii) frequent observation of their reflection. When subsequently provided with a coloured tag in a modified mark test, fish attempt to remove the mark by scraping their body in the presence of a mirror but show no response towards transparent marks or to coloured marks in the absence of a mirror. This remarkable finding presents a challenge to our interpretation of the mark test—do we accept that these behavioural responses, which are taken as evidence of self-recognition in other species during the mark test, lead to the conclusion that fish are self-aware? Or do we rather decide that these behavioural patterns have a basis in a cognitive process other than self-recognition and that fish do not pass the mark test? If the former, what does this mean for our understanding of animal intelligence? If the latter, what does this mean for our application and interpretation of the mark test as a metric for animal cognitive abilities?