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Semidiscrete biomass dynamic modeling: an improved approach for assessing fish stock responses to pulsed harvest events

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Continuous harvest over an annual period is a common assumption of continuous biomass dynamics models (CBDMs); however, fish are frequently harvested in a discrete manner. We developed semidiscrete biomass dynamics models (SDBDMs) that allow discrete harvest events and evaluated differences between CBDMs and SDBDMs using an equilibrium yield analysis with varying levels of fishing mortality (F). Equilibrium fishery yields for CBDMs and SDBDMS were similar at low fishing mortalities and diverged as F approached and exceeded maximum sustained yield (F MSY). Discrete harvest resulted in lower equilibrium yields at high levels of F relative to continuous harvest. The effect of applying harvest continuously when it was in fact discrete was evaluated by fitting CBDMs and SDBDMs to time series data generated from a hypothetical fish stock undergoing discrete harvest and evaluating parameter estimates bias. Violating the assumption of continuous harvest resulted in biased parameter estimates for CBDM while SDBDM parameter estimates were unbiased. Biased parameter estimates resulted in biased biological reference points derived from CBDMs. Semidiscrete BDMs outperformed continuous BDMs and should be used when harvest is discrete, when the time and magnitude of harvest are known, and when F is greater than F MSY.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: US Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 339 Science II, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3221, USA. 2: Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, 339 Science II, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3221, USA.

Publication date: October 21, 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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