What is multispecies MSY? A worked example from the North Sea.

08:00 EDT 18th March 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "What is multispecies MSY? A worked example from the North Sea."

The concept of an optimum yield at intermediate levels of fishing (the so called maximum sustainable yield or MSY) has been with us since the 1930s and is now enshrined in legislation as a key objective of fisheries management. The concept seems intuitively reasonable and is readily applicable to a single stock treated in isolation and assuming a constant environment. However, translating this concept into a mixed and multispecies fishery, where there are complex trade-offs between fleets and stocks and in general no simple optimum solution, has been problematic. Here I introduce a framework for thinking about multispecies MSY in terms of an integrated risk of stock depletion and expected long-term yield. Within this framework I consider the performance of a set of simple harvest control rules based upon a single-limit fishing mortality rate (F) which is common to all stocks and a target biomass which is a set fraction of a stock's virgin biomass. Using a multispecies management strategy evaluation, I compare expected outcomes for a set of these harvest control rules with alternative scenarios, in which each stock has its own F based on the assessment process. I find that the simple framework can produce outcomes that are similar to those from the more sophisticated estimates of F. I therefore conclude that achieving multispecies MSY may depend more upon setting reasonable biomass targets and faithfully applying a harvest control rule approach rather than determining the best possible Fs for each stock.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of fish biology
ISSN: 1095-8649


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