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A Comparison of Linear Demographic Models and Fraction of Lifetime Egg Production for Assessing Sustainability in Sharks

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Conventional methods for management of data‐rich fisheries maintain sustainable populations by assuring that lifetime reproduction is adequate for individuals to replace themselves and accounting for density‐dependent recruitment. Fishing is not allowed to reduce relative lifetime reproduction, the fraction of current egg production relative to unfished egg production (FLEP), below a sustainable level. Because most shark fisheries are data poor, other representations of persistence status have been used, including linear demographic models, which incorporate life‐history characteristics in age‐structured models with no density dependence. We tested how well measures of sustainability from 3 linear demographic methods (rebound potential, stochastic growth rate, and potential population increase) reflect actual population persistence by comparing values of these measures with FLEP for 26 shark species. We also calculated the value of fishing mortality (F) that would allow all 26 species to maintain an accepted precautionary threshold for sharks of FLEP = 60%, expressing F as a fraction of natural mortality (M). Values of stochastic growth rate and potential population growth did not covary in rank order with FLEP (p = 0.057 and p = 0.077, respectively) and neither was significantly correlated with FLEP. Ordinal ranking of rebound potential positively covaried with FLEP (p = 0.00013), but the relative rankings of some species were substantially out of order. Adopting a sustainable limit of F = 0.16M would maintain all 26 species above the precautionary minimum value of FLEP (60%). We concluded that shark‐fishery and conservation policies should rely on calculation of replacement (i.e., FLEP), and that sharks should be fished at a precautionary level that would protect all stocks (i.e., F< 0.16M).

Comparación entre Modelos Demográficos Lineales y la Fracción de Producción de Huevos a lo Largo de la Vida para Estudiar la Sustentabilidad en Tiburones Resumen
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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