Linking fisheries, trophic interactions and climate: threshold dynamics drive herring Clupea harengus growth in the central Baltic Sea.

Casini, Michele, Bartolino, Valerio, Molinero, Juan Carlos and Kornilovs, Georgs (2010) Linking fisheries, trophic interactions and climate: threshold dynamics drive herring Clupea harengus growth in the central Baltic Sea. Open Access Marine Ecology Progress Series, 413 . pp. 241-252. DOI 10.3354/meps08592.

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Abstract

How multiple stressors influence fish stock dynamics is a crucial question in ecology in general and in fisheries science in particular. Using time-series covering a 30 yr period, we show that the body growth of the central Baltic Sea herring Clupea harengus, both in terms of condition and weight-at-age (WAA), has shifted from being mainly driven by hydro-climatic forces to an inter-specific density-dependent control. The shift in the mechanisms of regulation of herring growth is triggered by the abundance of sprat, the main food competitor for herring. Abundances of sprat above the threshold of ~18 × 1010 ind. decouple herring growth from hydro-climatic factors (i.e. salinity), and become the main driver of herring growth variations. At high sprat densities, herring growth is considerably lower than at low sprat levels, regardless of the salinity conditions, indicative of hysteresis in the response of herring growth to salinity changes. The threshold dynamic accurately explains the changes in herring growth during the past 3 decades and in turn contributes to elucidate the parallel drastic drop in herring spawning stock biomass. Studying the interplay between different stressors can provide fundamental information for the management of exploited resources. The management of the central Baltic herring stock should be adaptive and take into consideration the dual response of herring growth to hydro-climatic forces and food-web structure for a sound ecosystem approach to fisheries.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Marine Biology; Ichthyology; Condition · Weight-at-age · WAA · Ecological threshold · Inter-specific density-dependence; Hydro-climate; Herring; Sprat; Ecosystem-based fisheries management; Alternative dynamics; food webs
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps08592
ISSN: 0171-8630
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 07:42
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 12:58
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/9222

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