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Free Content Fishery-Management and Stock-Rebuilding Prospects Under Conditions of Low-frequency Environmental Variability and Species Interactions

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Interdecadal climate variability complicates fishery science and management. On the U.S. west coast, periods of favorable and adverse conditions may last 30 yrs each. A constant-harvest-rate policy may work for long-lived fishes (those with life spans comparable to or exceeding the duration of adverse conditions). Exploitation of short-lived fishes (species with life spans shorter than the duration of adverse conditions) benefits from policies that link harvest rate to environmental conditions, but a delayed response can be desirable. Therefore, rapid identification of regime shifts is not necessary but could provide advance notice of long-term changes in expected harvests. Planning horizons, especially for stock rebuilding, may have to be much longer than has been typical, even a century or more. During adverse periods little rebuilding may occur even after total cessation of fishing. Adverse species interactions like intraguild competition or 'cultivation effects' may prolong rebuilding or reduce sustainable yields. Management reference points like Fmsy and Bmsy can be strongly influenced by abundance of competitors. Importantly, Bmsy of large predators may be well above half the unfished biomass if their removal releases smaller competitors. Although adverse interactions may be reversible, rebuilding of apex predators may require decades to centuries.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2002

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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