MEPS 447:179-194 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/meps09519

Ecological and economic trade-offs in the management of mixed fisheries: a case study of spawning closures in flatfish fisheries

Adriaan D. Rijnsdorp1,2,*, Harriët M. J. van Overzee1, Jan Jaap Poos

1Wageningen IMARES, Institute for Marine Resources and Ecological Studies, PO Box 68, 1970 AB IJmuiden, The Netherlands
2Aquaculture and Fisheries Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: As a contribution to the ecosystem approach to fisheries management, we estimated the effects of spawning closures on stock status, ecosystem impacts and economic performance. We focused on the flatfish fishery in the North Sea and explored how spawning closures for plaice and sole contribute to sustainable management of 4 target species (sole, plaice, turbot and brill). Seasonal patterns in fishing effort and catchability by age group and area were estimated to quantify the effect of different spawning closure scenarios on the selection pattern. The scenario performance was evaluated using indicators of stock status (spawning stock biomass), economic performance of the fishery (yield, revenue) and ecosystem impact (discards, bycatch of cod and rays, seabed integrity, fisheries-induced evolution). In a single-species context, spawning closures may be beneficial for the target species, while in a mixed fisheries and ecosystem context, negative effects may occur. A spawning closure for plaice combines positive effects on the plaice stock and the revenue with reductions of the negative impact for several ecosystem indicators and only a small negative effect on sea bed integrity. The effects did not differ when evaluated at current levels of effort or at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) effort. Tailor-made solutions are required that need to be developed in stakeholder consultation to trade-off the ecological and economic objectives. Mixed-species MSY was lower than the sum of the single-species MSYs.


KEY WORDS: Ecosystem approach · Closed areas · Closed seasons · Discards · Bottom trawling impact · Selection differential · Indicators · Good environmental status


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Cite this article as: Rijnsdorp AD, van Overzee HMJ, Poos JJ (2012) Ecological and economic trade-offs in the management of mixed fisheries: a case study of spawning closures in flatfish fisheries. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 447:179-194

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