Drivers of dynamics of small pelagic fish resources

Image credit: Arnaud Bertrand

Drivers of dynamics of small pelagic fish resources: biology, management and human factors


Populations of small pelagic fish (SPF) such as sardine, anchovy, herring, capelin and mackerel provide ~25% of the global annual yield of capture fisheries. The well-being of many human coastal communities around the world, particularly in developing countries, depends critically on these SPF resources. Population sizes of SPF exhibit extreme fluctuations in both abundance and geographic spread due to the impact of environmental and anthropogenic influences. Despite many internationally coordinated research efforts, we still do not have sufficient knowledge about the drivers of SPF population dynamics and, particularly, the interactive effects of environmental and anthropogenic factors. This Theme Section — by using a comparative approach — provides fundamental insights into (1) the biology of SPF, (2) the drivers of SPF dynamics, and (3) the socioeconomic impacts of SPF fisheries. Such insights are urgently needed for ecosystem-based management of these highly variable fish populations.


Editors: Jürgen Alheit, Arnaud Bertrand, Richard Brodeur, Susana Garrido, Martin Quaas, David Reid, Dominique Robert, Stelios Somarakis, Akinori Takasuka, Olivier Thébaud, Verena Trenkel

Organizer: Jürgen Alheit


Individual Theme Section articles are published 'Advance View' as soon as they are ready. Once the Theme Section is completed, they will be fully published in a regular volume of MEPS and given a volume number and page range. Theme Section literature cites within the articles will also be updated. Occasionally other changes or corrections may have been necessary between the Advance View version and the Final version appearing in the MEPS volume.

Watari S, Murase H, Yonezaki S, Okazaki M, Kiyofuji H, Tamura T, Hakamada T, Kanaji Y, Kitakado T

Ecosystem modeling in the western North Pacific using Ecopath, with a focus on small pelagic fishes

MEPS TS SPF:AV 1 | Full text in pdf format


Boldt JL, Thompson M, Rooper CN, Hay DE, Schweigert JF, Quinn TJ II, Cleary JS, Neville CM

Bottom-up and top-down control of small pelagic forage fish: factors affecting age-0 herring in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia

MEPS TS SPF:AV 2 | Full text in pdf format


Brodeur RD, Hunsicker ME, Hann A, Miller TW

Effects of warming ocean conditions on feeding ecology of small pelagic fishes in a coastal upwelling ecosystem: a shift to gelatinous food sources

MEPS TS SPF:AV 3 | Full text in pdf format


Kaplan IC, Francis TB, Punt AE, Koehn LE, Curchitser E, Hurtado-Ferro F, Johnson KF, Lluch-Cota SE, Sydeman WJ, Essington TE, Taylor N, Holsman K, MacCall AD, Levin PS

A multi-model approach to understanding the role of Pacific sardine in the California Current food web

MEPS TS SPF:AV 4 | Full text in pdf format


Rykaczewski RR

Changes in mesozooplankton size structure along a trophic gradient in the California Current Ecosystem and implications for small pelagic fish

MEPS TS SPF:AV 5 | Full text in pdf format


de Carvalho-Souza GF, González-Ortegón E, Baldó F, Vilas C, Drake P, Llope M

Natural and anthropogenic effects on the early life stages of European anchovy in one of its essential fish habitats, the Guadalquivir estuary

MEPS TS SPF:AV 6 | Full text in pdf format


Huret M, Tsiaras K, Daewel U, Skogen MD, Gatti P, Petitgas P, Somarakis S

Variation in life-history traits of European anchovy along a latitudinal gradient: a bioenergetics modelling approach

MEPS TS SPF:AV 7 | Full text in pdf format


Coll M, Albo-Puigserver M, Navarro J, Palomera I, Dambacher JM

Who is to blame? Plausible pressures on small pelagic fish population changes in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

MEPS TS SPF:AV 8 | Full text in pdf format


Sánchez S, Ibaibarriaga L, Uriarte A, Prellezo R, Andrés M, Abaunza P, Jardim E, Lehuta S, Pawlowski L, Roel B

Challenges of management strategy evaluation for small pelagic fish: the Bay of Biscay anchovy case study

MEPS TS SPF:AV 9 | Full text in pdf format


Somarakis S, Tsoukali S, Giannoulaki M, Schismenou E, Nikolioudakis N

REVIEW: Spawning stock, egg production and larval survival in relation to small pelagic fish recruitment

MEPS TS SPF:AV 10 | Full text in pdf format


Wise L, Galego C, Katara I, Marçalo A, Meirinho A, Monteiro SS, Oliveira N, Santos J, Rodrigues P, Araújo H, Vingada J, Silva A

Portuguese purse seine fishery spatial and resource overlap with top predators

MEPS TS SPF:AV 11 | Full text in pdf format


Berg F, Slotte A, Andersson L, Folkvord A

Genetic origin and salinity history influence the reproductive success of Atlantic herring

MEPS TS SPF:AV 12 | Full text in pdf format


Ichinokawa M, Okamura H

Properly designed effort management for highly fluctuating small pelagic fish populations: a case study in a purse seine fishery targeting chub mackerel

MEPS TS SPF:AV 13 | Full text in pdf format


Slotte A, Husebø Å, Berg F, Stenevik EK, Folkvord A, Fossum P, Mosegaard H, Vikebø F, Nash RDM

Earlier hatching and slower growth: a key to survival in the early life history of Norwegian spring spawning herring

MEPS TS SPF:AV 14 | Full text in pdf format


Veiga-Malta T, Szalaj D, Angélico MM, Azevedo M, Farias I, Garrido S, Lourenço S, Marçalo A, Marques V, Moreno A, Oliveira PB, Paiva VH, Prista N, Silva C, Sobrinho-Gonçalves L, Vingada J, Silva A

First representation of the trophic structure and functioning of the Portuguese continental shelf ecosystem: insights into the role of sardine

MEPS TS SPF:AV 15 | Full text in pdf format


Menon NN, Sankar S, Smitha A, George G, Shalin S, Sathyendranath S, Platt T

Satellite chlorophyll concentration as an aid to understanding the dynamics of Indian oil sardine in
the southeastern Arabian Sea

MEPS TS SPF:AV 16 | Full text in pdf format


Yebra L, Hernández de Rojas A, Valcárcel-Pérez N, Castro MC, García-Gómez C, Cortés D, Mercado JM, Laiz-Carrión R, García A, Gómez-Jakobsen F, Uriarte A, Rodríguez JM, Quintanilla JM

Molecular identification of the diet of Sardina pilchardus larvae in the SW Mediterranean Sea

MEPS TS SPF:AV 17 | Full text in pdf format


Louzao M, García-Barón I, Rubio A, Martínez U, Vázquez JA, Murcia JL, Nogueira E, Boyra G

Understanding the 3D environment of pelagic predators from multidisciplinary oceanographic surveys to advance ecosystem-based monitoring

MEPS TS SPF:AV 18 | Full text in pdf format