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