Multispecies yield and profit when exploitation rates vary spatially including the impact on mortality of ocean acidification on North Pacific crab stocks

A multi-species size-structured population dynamics model that can account for spatial structure and technical interactions between commercial fisheries was developed and applied to the snow and southern Tanner crab fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea. The model was then used as the basis for forecasts to calculate reference points related to yield and profit under the effects of ocean acidification on snow and southern Tanner crab. Stochastic projections that account for variation about the stock-recruitment relationship were undertaken for a constant F35% harvest strategy, a strategy that sets effort to maximize profit ignoring the effects of environmental variability such as ocean acidification, and the Acceptable Biological Catch control rule, which includes a reduction in fishing mortality rate when stocks are below target levels. Single- and four-area models led to similar fits to abundance and catch data, and provide similar estimates of time-trajectories of mature male biomass. The model is used to compute Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and an upper bound on Maximum Economic Yield (uMEY). The effort levels that achieve MSY and uMEY were sensitive to whether a spatial or non-spatial model was used to calculate reference points and hence how technical interactions among species were accounted for. Dynamic projections based on various management strategies indicated that adopting a uMEY target level of effort leads to some robustness to the effects of ocean acidification, although similar results can be obtained using the Acceptable Biological Catch control rule, which reduces harvest rates as biomass levels decline.

Punt A. E., Dalton M. G. & Foy R. J., 2020. Multispecies yield and profit when exploitation rates vary spatially including the impact on mortality of ocean acidification on North Pacific crab stocks. Fisheries Research 225: 105481. doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2019.105481. Article (subscription required).

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