Exploring Climate and Fishing Impacts in an Ecosystem Model of the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia

Exploring Climate and Fishing Impacts in an Ecosystem Model of the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia

C. Fu, Y.J. Shin, R.I Perry, J. King, and H. Liu

Exploring Climate and Fishing Impacts in an Ecosystem Model of the Strait of Georgia, British ColumbiaThis is part of Global Progress in Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management
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Building an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management requires knowledge of how climate and fishing induce changes in fish community structure over short and long time periods. It is recognized that investigating the internal structure of marine production systems, particularly in the form of species interactions, is as important as taking into account external factors such as environmental conditions and fishing activity. In this study, we used an individual-based spatially and temporally explicit multispecies model (OSMOSE) to explore the potential impacts of climate change and fishing on the dynamics of fish populations in the Strait of Georgia, Canada. In the OSMOSE model, the fate of all individuals of multiple fish species was modeled through their life cycles including changes in their spatial distribution, natural mortality, predation, starvation, growth, fishing mortality, and reproduction. Our simulations suggested research should consider the pathways through which environmental disturbances enter the ecosystem and interact with predator-prey dynamics and species life history in order to understand species’ responses to environmental changes and management actions. As an example, in the simulations Pacific herring was more sensitive to changes in copepod biomass than changes in phytoplankton biomass, and intensive fishing on Pacific herring decreased the overall fish production from the ecosystem. This study demonstrates the importance of using a model such as OSMOSE to explore scenarios that combine species interactions, fisheries management, and climate change.

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