MEPS 386:197-206 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08076

Conservation value of historical data: reconstructing stock dynamics of turbot during the last century in the Kattegat-Skagerrak

Massimiliano Cardinale1,*, Magdalena Linder1,2, Valerio Bartolino3, Luigi Maiorano3, Michele Casini1

1Swedish Board of Fisheries, PO Box 4, Lysekil, Sweden
2Department of Marine Ecology, Gothenburg University, Box 461, Gothenburg, Sweden
3Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Rome, La Sapienza, v.le dell´Universitá 32, 00185, Rome, Italy

ABSTRACT: A quasi-complete time series of biomass, maximum body size and spatial distribution was reconstructed for turbot Psetta maxima L. in the Kattegat-Skagerrak based on standardized research surveys extending back to 1925. Here we show that biomass has declined by about 86% over the time series, maximum body size has decreased by 20 cm and the northern component of the population has virtually vanished. These trends are likely to be underestimated due to the conservative approach we used by assuming a low level of ‘technological creep’ during the survey period, suggesting that the actual reduction in biomass might have been between 92 and 95%. Absence of trend in former analyses of data collected in the last 2 or 3 decades is dangerously misleading. This substantial difference in stock status, based on historical data, highlights the general importance of the historical perspective for managing natural resources.


KEY WORDS: Historical population dynamics · Shifting baselines · Research data · Sustainability


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Cite this article as: Cardinale M, Linder M, Bartolino V, Maiorano L, Casini M (2009) Conservation value of historical data: reconstructing stock dynamics of turbot during the last century in the Kattegat-Skagerrak. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 386:197-206

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