The development and analysis of a fish population module within the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM) is described. Fixed predation rates on ERSEM zooplankton and zoobenthos, which may be used in place of this dynamic module of fish, are described also. The dynamic module is age-structured, with state variables for the number of individuals and their weight, the latter partitioned into structural (skeletal, essentially) and remobilizable 'reserve' components. It is capable of prediction of observed patterns of both positive and negative changes in individual weight. The fish are modelled as one population for the whole North Sea, superimposed on the ERSEM box structure. Parameters have been derived from the literature where possible and, for herring, certain parameters have been adjusted to match independent estimates of growth in the field. Preliminary results show that herring growth rate depends inversely on biomass, when changes in the latter are caused by altered fishing mortality. The magnitude of these effects is in agreement with historical data for herring in the North Sea. The model is discussed in relation to previous attempts to model fish population dynamics, particularly in the North Sea.
- population dynamics
- shelf-sea ecosystem model