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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 538:257-272 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11502

REVIEW
Role of trophic models and indicators in current marine fisheries management

C. Longo1,8,*, S. Hornborg2, V. Bartolino3, M. T. Tomczak4, L. Ciannelli5, S. Libralato6, A. Belgrano3,7 

1, 8National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93101, USA
2SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Food and Bioscience, Sustainable Food Production, Box 5401, 402 29 Göteborg, Sweden
3Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research, Turistgatan 5, 453 30 Lysekil, Sweden
4Stockholm University, Baltic Sea Centre, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
5College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, 104 CEOAS Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-5503, USA
6OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale), Division of Oceanography, Via Beirut 2/4 (Ex-Sissa bulding), 34151 Trieste, Italy
7Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment (SIME), Box 260, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
8Present address: Marine Stewardship Council, Marine House, 1 Snow Hill, London EC1A 2DH, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The previous decade has witnessed a flourishing of studies on how fisheries and marine food webs interact, and how trophic models and indicators can be used for assessment and management purposes. Acknowledging the importance of complex interactions among species, fishermen and the environment has led to a shift from single species to an ecosystem-wide approach in the science supporting fisheries management (e.g. Johannesburg Declaration, Magnuson-Stevens Act). Moreover, fisheries managers today acknowledge that fishing activities are linked to a range of societal benefits and services, and their work is necessarily a multi-objective practice (i.e. ecosystem-based management). We argue that the knowledge accumulated thus far points to trophodynamic models and indicators as key tools for such multi-dimensional assessments. Nevertheless, trophodynamic approaches are still underutilised in fisheries management. More specifically, most management decisions continue to rely on single species and sector-specific models. Here we review examples of applications of trophodynamic indicators within fisheries assessments in well-studied ecosystems, and discuss progress made (as well as lack thereof) towards increased integration of these metrics into marine resource management. Having clarified how trophic indicators fit within current policy and management contexts, we propose ways forward to increase their use in view of future management challenges.


KEY WORDS: Trophic dynamics · Ecological indicators · Ecological network analysis · Ecosystem‑based management · Integrated ecosystem assessments · Ecopath with Ecosim


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Cite this article as: Longo C, Hornborg S, Bartolino V, Tomczak MT, Ciannelli L, Libralato S, Belgrano A (2015) Role of trophic models and indicators in current marine fisheries management. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 538:257-272. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11502

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