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Effect of the North Atlantic Oscillation on recruitment of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

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We examine the effect of introducing an environmental factor — the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index — into a stock–recruit relationship fitted to 13 North Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks and discuss the implications for management. The NAO has a significant effect on recruitment of four of the stocks (positive effect on recruitment in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Irish Sea; negative effect on recruitment at Iceland), and the pattern of positive and negative effects on all stocks is consistent with the geographic influence of the NAO on environmental variables. Observed variability in the NAO should be taken into account in interpreting the causes of past changes in cod stocks. The NAO index for the previous winter is available by April and thus may provide an early indication of the likely range of cod recruitment in the current year. In areas, such as the North Sea, where the effect is strong, medium- and long-term assessments of recruitment and yield of the cod stocks should consider likely future states of the NAO. The NAO can be used to represent environmental variability in stock projections and thereby provide a better basis for the estimation of risk.

Nous examinons les effets de l'introduction d'un facteur du milieu, l'indice de l'oscillation nord-atlantique (NAO), dans une relation stock–recrutement ajustée à 13 stocks de morues (Gadus morhua) de l'Atlantique nord et nous discutons des implications sur les avis de gestion. NAO a un effet significatif sur le recrutement de quatre des stocks (un effet positif sur les stocks de la mer du Nord, de la Baltique et de la mer d'Irlande et un effet négatif sur le recrutement en Islande); le pattern d'effets positifs et négatifs sur tous les stocks est en accord avec l'influence géographique de NAO sur les variables environnementales. On devrait tenir compte de la variabilité observée de NAO pour interpréter les changements du passé dans les stocks de morues. L'indice NAO pour l'hiver précédent est disponible en avril et peut donc fournir une première indication de l'entendue vraisemblable du recrutement de la morue durant l'année courante. Dans les endroits, comme la mer du Nord, où l'effet est important, l'évaluation à moyen et à long termes du recrutement et du rendement des stocks de morues devrait tenir compte des états futurs vraisemblables de NAO. NAO peut servir à représenter la variabilité de l'environnement dans les projections de stocks et ainsi fournir une base plus solide pour l'estimation des risques.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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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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