Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8154
Title: Assessing trade-offs to inform ecosystem-based fisheries management of forage fish
Author: Andrew O. Shelton, J. F. Samhouri, A. C. Stier, P. S. Levin
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Nature: Scientific Reports
Volume: 4
Pages: 7110
DOI: DOI: 10.1038/srep07110
Keywords: forage fish, ecosystem-based management, Ecosystem service, ecosystem-based management, fisheries value, trade-offs, harvest strategies, age-structure,

Twenty-first century conservation is centered on negotiating trade-offs between the diverse needs of people and the needs of the other species constituting coupled human-natural ecosystems. Marine forage fishes, such as sardines, anchovies, and herring, are a nexus for such trade-offs because they are both central nodes in marine food webs and targeted by fisheries. An important example is Pacific herring, Clupea pallisii in the Northeast Pacific. Herring populations are subject to two distinct fisheries: one that harvests adults and one that harvests spawned eggs. We develop stochastic, age structured models to assess the interaction between fisheries, herring populations, and the persistence of predators reliant on herring populations. We show that egg- and adult fishing have asymmetric effects on herring population dynamics - herring stocks can withstand higher levels of egg harvest before becoming depleted. Second, ecosystem thresholds proposed to ensure the persistence of herring predators do not necessarily pose more stringent constraints on fisheries than conventional, fishery driven harvest guidelines. Our approach provides a general template to evaluate ecosystem trade-offs between stage-specific harvest practices in relation to environmental variability, the risk of fishery closures, and the risk of exceeding ecosystem thresholds intended to ensure conservation goals are met.

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Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Describe the interaction between human activities, particularly harvest of marine resources, and ecosystem function.
Official Citation:

Shelton, A.O., J.F. Samhouri, A.C. Stier, and P.S. Levin. 2014. Assessing trade-offs to inform ecosystem-based fisheries management of forage fish. Scientific Reports 4:7110  DOI: 10.1038/srep07110