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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 444:251-261 (2012)  -  DOI:

Scale-dependent detection of the effects of ­harvesting a marine fish population

Valerio Bartolino1,2,*, Lorenzo Ciannelli3, Paul Spencer4, Thomas K. Wilderbuer4, Kung-Sik Chan5

1Marine Research Institute, Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Lysekil 45321, Sweden
2Regional Climate Group, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden 3College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA 4Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA 5Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA

ABSTRACT: Certain ecological processes dominate others at particular scales, and the response of populations to exogenous and endogenous forces are typically scale dependent. In spite of this central role played by scale, the temporal and spatial scales of human impacts on ecosystems and populations remain almost unknown. We applied a multiscale regression analysis to investigate the spatiotemporal scales which characterize the fisheries exploitation of yellowfin sole Limanda aspera in the Bering Sea. We found that harvesting affects the abundance of this species simultaneously at local and regional scales. At the local scale harvesting produced a negative effect on local fish densities, particularly in those areas and seasons of high fish aggregation, when both the vulnerability of the fish and the fishing effort increase. At the regional scale harvesting was characterized by a widespread negative effect on the whole fish population. Our findings demonstrate that (1) detection of the fisheries exploitation effects on natural populations is sensitive to the scale of investigation, (2) fisheries harvesting can simultaneously affect multiple ecological scales which are not linearly correlated with each other. We developed analytical techniques for the detection of scale-dependent processes, which can be readily applied to other systems. Our results provide insights on the risks of extrapolating the effects of harvesting on natural populations across scales, making the issues of scale and space central to the management and conservation of natural populations.

KEY WORDS: Spatial distribution · Local exploitation · Regional exploitation · Scale · Yellowfin sole · Bering Sea

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Cite this article as: Bartolino V, Ciannelli L, Spencer P, Wilderbuer TK, Chan KS (2012) Scale-dependent detection of the effects of ­harvesting a marine fish population. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 444:251-261.

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