Capacity management, not stock status or economics, drives fleet dynamics in the Bay of Biscay ecosystem on a decadal time scale

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Abstract:

This paper introduces a semiqualitative approach to analyse the joint dynamics of fleets and stocks in a multispecies, multifleet fishery. We ask whether changes in fleets affect resource dynamics and whether trends in resource influence fleet dynamics more than external drivers do. External drivers include vessel buyback, fuel price, and fish prices, as well as environmental fluctuations. Resource status is measured by abundance and length metrics; fleet capacity is measured by total horse power, and economic metrics such as profitability and earnings are examined as well. A maximum likelihood approach is used to identify the combined metric trends with the largest support in the data. The approach is applied to the French Bay of Biscay fisheries in 2000–2007. Combined-metric time trends suggest that decreases in fleet capacity did not result in decreasing fishing impacts; trends in stocks and fish prices were not the major drivers of changes in fleets either. Rather, the vessel buyback program might have been the main factor determining fleet dynamics over that period.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2012-002

Publication date: April 16, 2012

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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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