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Optimal effort controls for the multispecies groundfish complex in New England: what might have been

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Age-structured models are used to calculate catches and revenues of the principal stocks in the northeast multispecies groundfish fishery over the 1982–1997 period assuming alternative control rules on fishing effort had been employed. Various static levels of nominal effort are compared with controls that maintain fishing mortality below overfishing thresholds for all stocks. An unambiguous result from this analysis is that substantial reductions in fishing effort would have increased the value of the fishery even if resulting increases in spawning stock biomass (SSB) had not increased recruitment. Simple controls on nominal effort designed to maximize revenues would have provided nearly equivalent revenues to those achieved by maintaining fishing mortality for each stock at its individual maximum sustainable yield (FMSY) but would have led to overfishing of some stocks. Without the ability to tune the relative catches across stocks, strict controls on effort designed to prevent overfishing on individual stocks would likely have resulted in significantly lower and more variable revenues. Achieving SSB targets for three stocks would not have been possible given the observed recruitment.

Nous avons utilisé des modèles structurés d'après l'âge pour calculer les prises et les revenus des principaux stocks de la pêche commerciale plurispécifique de poissons de fond du Nord-est pour la période 1982–1997, en assumant que des règles de contrôle alternatives de l'effort de pêche avaient été employées. Divers niveaux statiques d'effort nominal ont été comparés aux témoins qui maintiennent la mortalité due à la pêche sous les seuils de surpêche pour tous les stocks. Un résultat clair de cette analyse est que des réductions importantes dans l'effort de pêche auraient augmenté la valeur de la pêche commerciale, même si les augmentations de la biomasse du stock reproducteur qui auraient suivi n'avaient pas fait augmenter le recrutement. Des contrôles simples de l'effort nominal en vue de maximiser les revenus auraient généré presque autant de revenus que ne l'aurait fait le maintien de la mortalité due à la pêche à son FMSY (rendement soutenu maximal) individuel; ils auraient cependant mené à la surpêche de certains stocks. Sans la capacité d'ajuster les captures relatives d'un stock à l'autre, l'utilisation de contrôles stricts de l'effort dans le but de prévenir la surpêche des stocks individuels aurait probablement généré des revenus significativement plus faibles et plus variables. L'atteinte des objectifs relatifs à la biomasse du stock reproducteur pour trois stocks n'aurait pas été possible, avec le recrutement observé.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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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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