Journal Article

Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment

Carl J. Walters, Villy Christensen, Steven J. Martell and James F. Kitchell

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 558-568
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.12.005
Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment

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Ecosim models have been fitted to time-series data for a wide variety of ecosystems for which there are long-term data that confirm the models' ability to reproduce past responses of many species to harvesting. We subject these model ecosystems to a variety of harvest policies, including options based on harvesting each species at its maximum sustainable yield (MSY) fishing rate. We show that widespread application of single-species MSY policies would in general cause severe deterioration in ecosystem structure, in particular the loss of top predator species. This supports the long-established practice in fisheries management of protecting at least some smaller “forage” species specifically for their value in supporting larger piscivores.

Keywords: Ecosim; ecosystem models; MSY; multispecies production; overharvesting

Journal Article.  6072 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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