Journal Article

The use of historical catch data to trace the influence of climate on fish populations: examples from the White and Barents Sea fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries

Dmitry L. Lajus, Julia A. Lajus, Zoya V. Dmitrieva, Alexei V. Kraikovski and Daniel A. Alexandrov

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 7, pages 1426-1435
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.02.011
The use of historical catch data to trace the influence of climate on fish populations: examples from the White and Barents Sea fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries

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We analysed catch records of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), cod (Gadus morhua), and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) from the 17th and 18th centuries from several locations of the Barents and White Seas areas. Historical records, found in Russian archives, allow analysis of long-term series of catches, and sometimes of the average weight of the fish. In total, we obtained data on catches of salmon for 51 years (for the period from 1615 to 1772) and of cod and halibut for 33 years (for the period from 1710 to 1793). These data are comparable with respect to fishing effort within the series. The data on Atlantic salmon are also comparable with statistical data for the period 1875–1915. We found notable fluctuations in catches and sometimes in the average weight of salmon. There was also fluctuation in catches of cod and halibut. Both observational comparison of catch series and temperature data and formal statistical analysis showed that catches tended to decrease during relatively colder periods.

Keywords: Atlantic salmon; Barents Sea; climate change; cod; fisheries; halibut; history; White Sea

Journal Article.  6985 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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