A modelling approach to evaluate the impact of fish spatial behavioural types on fisheries stock assessment

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Spatial behavioural types (SBTs) arise from between-individual differences in behavioural traits that foster spatial behavioural patterns that are consistent over time and ecological contexts. Fish stocks are regularly assessed using catch per unit effort (CPUE) as input data that may non-linearly co-vary with the underlying abundance (N) of the exploited stock when SBT affect catchability. We hypothesized that SBT promote characteristic changes in catchability within harvesting seasons that affect catch rates and in turn catch-based fish stock assessments. To test this hypothesis, we developed a spatially explicit agent-based simulation where we measured encounters between fish and fishers and estimated the shape of the CPUE–N relationship. We ran the simulation in a prototypical fish–fisher encounter-leads-to-catch-type fishery and systematically studied outcomes in the presence or absence of SBTs. It was revealed that the existence of SBTs leads to CPUE inevitably declining faster than N (a process known as hyperdepletion) when compared with a simulation lacking SBTs. This finding was consistent in a wide range of fishing effort scenarios. The emergent hyperdepletion of catch rates was caused by fast and behavioural-selective exploitation of vulnerable SBT that encompassed the mobile component of the fish stock. The theoretical predictions received support from field data from a coastal recreational fishery. Our work suggests that the consideration of SBT when interpreting trends in CPUE data may notably improve stock assessments by providing a more reliable CPUE–N relationship.

Alós, J., Campos-Candela, A., Arlinghaus, R. (2019). A modelling approach to evaluate the impact of fish spatial behavioural types on fisheries stock assessment. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(2), 489–500


Veröffentlicht: 2019
Erschienen in: ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(2), 489–500