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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 528:245-255 (2015)  -  DOI:

Bayesian spatio-temporal approach to identifying fish nurseries by validating persistence areas

Iosu Paradinas1,*, David Conesa1, M. Grazia Pennino2, Facundo Muñoz3, Angel M. Fernández4, Antonio López-Quílez1, José María Bellido4

1Departament d’Estadística i Investigació Operativa, Universitat de València, C/ Dr. Moliner 50, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain
2Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR EME 212 (IRD/Ifremer/Université Montpellier 2), Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale, Avenue Jean Monnet, B.P. 171, 34203 Sète cedex, France
3Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) - Centre Val de Loire Unité Amélioration, Génétique et Physiologie Forestières, 2163 Avenue de la Pomme de Pin, CS 40001 ARDON, 45075 Orleans Cedex 2, France
4Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Murcia, C/ Varadero 1, San Pedro del Pinatar, 30740 Murcia, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Spatial and temporal closures of fish nursery areas to fishing have recently been recognized as useful tools for efficient fisheries management, as they preserve the reproductive potential of populations and increase the recruitment of target species. In order to identify and locate potential nursery areas for spatio-temporal closures, a solid understanding of species-environment relationships is needed, as well as spatial identification of fish nurseries through the application of robust analyses. One way to achieve knowledge of fish nurseries is to analyse the persistence of recruitment hotspots. In this study, we propose the comparison of different spatio-temporal model structures to assess the persistence of a spatial process. In particular, we apply our approach to a 2-stage Bayesian hierarchical spatio-temporal model that describes both the occurrence and the abundance of European hake Merluccius merluccius recruits in the western Mediterranean Sea. Results clearly show areas of high occurrence and abundance, mainly along the shelf break and the upper slope of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Understanding the distributional patterns associated with key life stages such as recruitment is essential for appropriate spatial management, including the implementation of Fisheries Restricted Areas and/or Marine Protected Areas that improve the management of fishery resources.

KEY WORDS: Nursery areas · Distribution pattern · Ecosystem approach · Spatial fisheries management · Spatio temporal analysis · Bayesian hierarchical modelling · Merluccius merluccius

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Cite this article as: Paradinas I, Conesa D, Pennino MG, Muñoz F, Fernández AM, López-Quílez A, Bellido JM (2015) Bayesian spatio-temporal approach to identifying fish nurseries by validating persistence areas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 528:245-255.

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