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Implications of protracted recruitment for perception of the spawner–recruit relationship

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In European lobster, Homarus gammarus, wide growth variation means that annual recruitment to a fishery (individuals reaching legal size in the same year) consists of at least six year-classes (individuals hatching in the same year). In this paper, a simple simulation analysis is used to explore the effects of uncertainty about the specifics of this protracted recruitment pattern on the way that we perceive the spawner–recruit relationship. In the simulation, if the age range of recruits is underestimated or a simple correction for growth variation is applied by averaging numbers of recruits across years, a spawner–recruit relationship with artefactual curvature and noise arises. Growth variability is typical in animal populations and problems with protracted recruitment may occur in any situation where recruitment is based on size. Asymptotic spawner–recruit curves may not necessarily reflect density-dependent compensatory mortality and resilience to harvesting. The evidence presented here has important management implications for lobster and other exploited species.

L'importante variation dans la croissance du Homard européen, Homarus gammarus, a pour conséquence que le recrutement annuel pour la pêche (les individus qui atteignent la taille légale la même année) comprend au moins six classes d'âge (individus nés la même année). Une analyse de simulation simple permet d'examiner les effets de l'incertitude reliée aux détails de ce recrutement prolongé sur la perception que l'on peut se faire de la relation géniteurs–recrues. Si, dans la simulation, l'étendue des âges des recrues est sous-estimée ou si la variation de la croissance est corrigée simplement par le calcul du nombre moyen de recrues dans les classes d'âge, la relation géniteurs–recrues montre une courbure qui est un artéfact et il y a production de bruit. La variabilité de la croissance existe naturellement chez les populations animales et il peut surgir des problèmes reliés au recrutement prolongé dans toutes les situations où le recrutement est basé sur la taille. Des courbes géniteurs–recrues asymptotiques n'indiquent donc pas nécessairement une mortalité compensatoire dépendante de la densité ni une résilience à la capture. Ces observations ont des retombées importantes pour l'aménagement des populations de homards et d'autres espèces exploitées.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-04-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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