Journal Article

A meta-analysis of the status of ICES fish stocks during the past half century

Henrik Sparholt, Mette Bertelsen and Hans Lassen

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 4, pages 707-713
Published in print May 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm038
A meta-analysis of the status of ICES fish stocks during the past half century

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Sparholt, H., Bertelsen, M., and Lassen, H. 2007. A meta-analysis of the status of ICES fish stocks during the past half century. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 707–713.

Based on a meta-analysis of time-series of stock size, recruitment, and fishing mortality, the general status of fish stocks within the ICES Area (i.e. the Northeast Atlantic) is evaluated. The analysis is based on data for 34 (7 pelagic, 27 demersal) commercial stocks. The stocks were selected based on the quality of the data and the length of the time-series. The analysis indicates that most pelagic stocks recovered to sustainable levels with high productivity after several had collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, most demersal stocks have continued to decline over the past half century and are now recruitment-overfished. By reducing fishing mortality on demersal stocks on average by half and building up the stocks by a factor of about two, management could be brought in line with international agreements. If recruitment-overfishing is avoided for all demersal stocks and discarding is minimized, their yield might be almost doubled over the current yield. Among the major management initiatives during the past half century, only the closure of the pelagic fisheries in the mid-1970s can be clearly identified in the time-series as having had a direct effect on stock status.

Keywords: fish; ICES; meta-analysis; status; stocks

Journal Article.  5310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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