Survival of the fittest: explanations for gadoid imbalance in heavily fish seas

Sophie A. M. Elliott, Brooke A. Allan, William R. Turrell, Michael R. Heath, David M. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

1.Anthropogenic activities have caused degradation of the world’s ecosystems, accelerating loss of biodiversity. In marine ecosystems, fishing has had strong impacts on fish populations and their habitats. However, not all species have responded equally to fishing pressure.
2. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) are of high commercial value throughout the North Atlantic. Despite having relatively similar life cycles, the state of stocks of these three species varies enormously, with whiting faring better than cod. Within the Firth of Clyde (southwest Scotland) this imbalance is especially accentuated, where small whiting now make up the greater proportion of the biomass.
3. In this study, cod, haddock and whiting recruitment to coastal areas, growth and bait attraction were explored within a marine protected area (MPA) in the Firth of Clyde. Over the course of summer 2013 and 2014, whiting and haddock arrived at coastal areas earlier than cod and grew faster. Cod were on average the smallest gadoid observed and whiting the largest. Whiting also had more predominant scavenging behaviour.
4. These results in combination with other life history and behaviour traits indicate that whiting may be at a competitive advantage over cod, and this
may partly explain the imbalance of gadoids in the Firth of Clyde. This study highlights the importance of considering life history differences in multi-
species fisheries management and how appropriately managed MPAs could help restore fish population and assemblage structure.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Early online date11 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2018

Fingerprint

gadoid
whiting
marine fish
fishing
life history
multispecies fishery
cod (fish)
bait
fish
fishery management
marine ecosystem
haddock
protected area
human activity
life cycle
biodiversity
degradation
ecosystem
summer
habitat

Keywords

  • behaviour
  • fisheries management
  • life-history traits
  • recruitment
  • stereo-video cameras

Cite this

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abstract = "1.Anthropogenic activities have caused degradation of the world’s ecosystems, accelerating loss of biodiversity. In marine ecosystems, fishing has had strong impacts on fish populations and their habitats. However, not all species have responded equally to fishing pressure.2. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) are of high commercial value throughout the North Atlantic. Despite having relatively similar life cycles, the state of stocks of these three species varies enormously, with whiting faring better than cod. Within the Firth of Clyde (southwest Scotland) this imbalance is especially accentuated, where small whiting now make up the greater proportion of the biomass.3. In this study, cod, haddock and whiting recruitment to coastal areas, growth and bait attraction were explored within a marine protected area (MPA) in the Firth of Clyde. Over the course of summer 2013 and 2014, whiting and haddock arrived at coastal areas earlier than cod and grew faster. Cod were on average the smallest gadoid observed and whiting the largest. Whiting also had more predominant scavenging behaviour.4. These results in combination with other life history and behaviour traits indicate that whiting may be at a competitive advantage over cod, and thismay partly explain the imbalance of gadoids in the Firth of Clyde. This study highlights the importance of considering life history differences in multi-species fisheries management and how appropriately managed MPAs could help restore fish population and assemblage structure.",
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Survival of the fittest : explanations for gadoid imbalance in heavily fish seas. / Elliott, Sophie A. M.; Allan, Brooke A.; Turrell, William R.; Heath, Michael R.; Bailey, David M.

In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems , 11.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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