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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 459:203-218 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09787

Common patterns, common drivers: comparative analysis of aggregate surplus production across ecosystems

Alida Bundy1,*, Erin C. Bohaboy2,7, Dag O. Hjermann3, Franz J. Mueter4, Caihong Fu5, Jason S. Link6

1Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
2Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
3Department of Biology, Center of Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
4Fisheries Division, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau, Alaska 99801, USA
5Pacific Biological Station, Marine Ecosystems and Aquaculture Division, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9T 6N7, Canada
6National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
7Present address: RPS ASA, South Kingstown, Rhode Island 02879, USA

ABSTRACT: Marine ecosystems are dynamic, often have open boundaries, and their overall productivity responds nonlinearly to multiple drivers acting at multiple temporal and spatial scales, under a triad of influences: climatic, anthropogenic, and ecological. In order to further our understanding of how the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems influence and regulate patterns of fisheries production, and how they are affected by this triad of drivers, a comparative approach is required. We apply a system-level surplus production modeling approach to the total aggregated catch and biomass of all major targeted fish species in 12 exploited Northern Hemisphere ecosystems. We use 2 variations of a surplus production model: a regression model and a dynamic model, each fit with and without environmental and biological covariates. Our aims were to explore (1) the effects of common drivers at the basin scale and their relative influence within the triad of drivers among systems, (2) the impact of covariates on biological reference points and implications for fisheries management, and (3) the relationship between maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and production. Our results show that the environment affects estimates of system-level MSY across all ecosystems studied and that specifically water temperature is a major influence on productivity. Emergent properties of northern hemisphere systems suggest that MSY values and optimal exploitation rates are relatively consistent: MSY ranges between 1 and 5 t km−2 and optimal exploitation rate between 0.1 and 0.4 yr−1. Finally, we suggest that the relationship between fisheries yield and primary production is not as simple as suggested in other studies. These results put fisheries in a broader ecosystem context and have implications for an ecosystem approach to management.


KEY WORDS: Multiple ecosystem drivers · Surplus production models · Comparative analysis


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Cite this article as: Bundy A, Bohaboy EC, Hjermann DO, Mueter FJ, Fu C, Link JS (2012) Common patterns, common drivers: comparative analysis of aggregate surplus production across ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 459:203-218. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09787

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