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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 480:205-225 (2013)  -  DOI:

Temporal shifts in recruitment dynamics of North Atlantic fish stocks: effects of spawning stock and temperature

Geir Ottersen1,2,*, Leif Christian Stige2, Joël M. Durant2, Kung-Sik Chan3, Tristan A. Rouyer2,6, Kenneth F. Drinkwater4, Nils Chr. Stenseth2,5

1Institute of Marine Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway
2Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern,
0316 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA
4Institute of Marine Research, PB 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
5Institute of Marine Research, Flødevigen Marine Research Station, 4817 His, Norway
6Present address: IFREMER, UMR EME 212, Sète, France

ABSTRACT: Effects of variation in spawning stock and sea temperature on long-term temporal patterns in recruitment dynamics of 38 commercially harvested fish stocks in the northern North Atlantic were studied. Different statistical models were explored within a Ricker stock-recruitment framework. This includes, in order of complexity, adding a linear temperature term, a nonlinear (smooth) temperature effect, and non-stationarities (trends in intercept or in temperature effect) and finally allowing for a stepwise change (a threshold). The different models were compared in a uniform approach using Akaike’s information criterion corrected for small sample size as the model selection criterion. The relationship between recruitment, spawning stock biomass and temperature varied over time. The most frequent alteration in the non-stationary linear models was, for 14 stocks, in the intercept in recruitment success, suggesting a change in pre-recruit mortality over time. Threshold models performed better than the best linear or nonlinear stationary models for 27 of the stocks, suggesting that abrupt changes (maybe even regime shifts) are common. For half of the stocks studied, the temperature effect was statistically significant when added to the model of the relationship between recruitment success and spawning stock biomass. This includes all 6 of the herring stocks studied, with a positive effect for cold-water stocks and negative effect for stocks in the more temperate southern areas. For the 4 plaice stocks analysed, all located towards the centre of the overall distribution range of plaice, a tendency toward recruitment being favoured by lower temperatures was found.

KEY WORDS: Recruitment · Spawning stock biomass · Temperature · North Atlantic · Statistical modelling · Non-stationarity · Climate

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Cite this article as: Ottersen G, Stige LC, Durant JM, Chan KS, Rouyer TA, Drinkwater KF, Stenseth NC (2013) Temporal shifts in recruitment dynamics of North Atlantic fish stocks: effects of spawning stock and temperature. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 480:205-225.

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