The theory of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) underpins many fishery management regimes and is applied principally as a single species concept. Using a simple dynamic biomass production model we show that MSY can be identified from a long time series of multi-stock data at a regional scale in the presence of species interactions and environmental change. It suggests that MSY is robust and calculable in a multispecies environment, offering a realistic reference point for fishery management. Furthermore, the demonstration of the existence of MSY shows that it is more than a purely theoretical concept. There has been an improvement in the status of stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, but our analysis suggests further reductions in fishing effort would improve long-term yields.
- maximum sustainable yield