Decadal changes in biomass and distribution of key fisheries species on Newfoundland’s Grand Banks

Ruiz-Diaz, Raquel and Grazia Pennino, Maria and Fisher, Jonathan A. D. and Eddy, Tyler (2024) Decadal changes in biomass and distribution of key fisheries species on Newfoundland’s Grand Banks. PLoS ONE, 19 (4). ISSN 1932-6203

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Canadian fisheries management has embraced the precautionary approach and the incorporation of ecosystem information into decision-making processes. Accurate estimation of fish stock biomass is crucial for ensuring sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Spatio- temporal models can provide improved indices of biomass as they capture spatial and temporal correlations in data and can account for environmental factors influencing biomass distributions. In this study, we developed a spatio-temporal generalized additive model (st- GAM) to investigate the relationships between bottom temperature, depth, and the biomass of three key fished species on The Grand Banks: snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea), and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Our findings revealed changes in the centre of gravity of Atlantic cod that could be related to a northern shift of the species within the Grand Banks or to a faster recovery of the 2J3KL stock. Atlantic cod also displayed hyperaggregation behaviour with the species showing a continuous distribution over the Grand Banks when biomass is high. These findings suggest a joint stock assessment between the 2J3KL and 3NO stocks would be advisable. However, barriers may need to be addressed to achieve collaboration between the two distinct regulatory bodies (i.e., DFO and NAFO) in charge of managing the stocks. Snow crab and yellowtail flounder centres of gravity have remained relatively constant over time. We also estimated novel indices of biomass, informed by environmental factors. Our study represents a step towards ecosystem- based fisheries management for the highly dynamic Grand Banks.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 16418
Department(s): Marine Institute > Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research
Marine Institute
Date: 1 April 2024
Date Type: Publication
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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