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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 673:183-192 (2021)  -  DOI:

Responses of a pelagic fish community to reduced fishing pressure in the central Bering Sea

Masa-aki Fukuwaka1,*, Nancy D. Davis2

1Fisheries Resources Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Yokohama 236-8648, Japan
2School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, WA 98195-5052, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM) requires minimizing the risk of irreversible change to a natural assemblage of species. Because pelagic fisheries modify the biotic community rather than the physical environment and often target migratory species, the pelagic community can be expected to respond quickly after fishing pressure is reduced. We monitored the pelagic zooplanktivore community over 4 decades in the central Bering Sea before and after the closures of large-scale pelagic fisheries. We found a quick and steep change in the pelagic fish community structure after fishing pressure was reduced, which reflected increased abundance of salmon species; however, walleye pollock stocks, one of the most valuable fisheries resources in this area, have not recovered. A lower population growth rate might contribute to the slow recovery of pollock stocks. Long-term ecosystem monitoring of fishing grounds and surrounding ecosystems will be required for successful implementation of EBFM of pelagic fish stocks.

KEY WORDS: Fishing closure · Community structure · Planktivores · Pelagic fisheries · Long-term monitoring · High seas · Ecosystem-based fishery management · Bering Sea

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Cite this article as: Fukuwaka M, Davis ND (2021) Responses of a pelagic fish community to reduced fishing pressure in the central Bering Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 673:183-192.

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