Drivers of dynamics of small pelagic fish resources: biology, management and human factors
Populations of small pelagic fish (SPF) such as sardine, anchovy, herring, capelin and mackerel provide ~25% of the global annual yield of capture fisheries, and the well-being of many human coastal communities around the world, particularly in developing countries, critically depends on these SPF resources. These fishes display large ‘boom and bust’ cycles with great ecological as well socioeconomic consequences. Despite many internationally coordinated research efforts, sufficient knowledge about the drivers of SPF population dynamics and, particularly, the interactive effects of environmental and anthropogenic factors is lacking. The ecology and management of SPF were discussed in a symposium in Victoria, BC (Canada), attracting participants from 31 countries. This Theme Section consists of 22 research contributions providing fundamental insights into (1) the biology of SPF, (2) the drivers of SPF dynamics and (3) the socioeconomic impacts of SPF fisheries. Such insights are urgently needed for effective, ecosystem-based management of these highly variable fish populations. The symposium was an important catalyst for future, internationally coordinated research efforts to further advance our knowledge on the drivers of SPF population dynamics and the effective management of SPF fisheries.