Otolith chemoscape analysis in whiting links fishing grounds to nursery areas

Burns, N. M. , Hopkins, C. R. , Bailey, D. M. and Wright, P. J. (2020) Otolith chemoscape analysis in whiting links fishing grounds to nursery areas. Communications Biology, 3, 690. (doi: 10.1038/s42003-020-01433-y) (PMID:33214649) (PMCID:PMC7677557)

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Understanding life stage connectivity is essential to define appropriate spatial scales for fisheries management and develop effective strategies to reduce undersized bycatch. Despite many studies of population structure and connectivity in marine fish, most management units do not reflect biological populations and protection is rarely given to juvenile sources of the fished stock. Direct, quantitative estimates that link specific fishing grounds to the nursery areas, which produced the caught fish are essential to meet these objectives. Here we develop a continuous-surface otolith microchemistry approach to geolocate whiting (Merlangius merlangus) and infer life stage connectivity across the west coast of the UK. We show substantial connectivity across existing stock boundaries and identify the importance of the Firth of Clyde nursery area. This approach offers fisheries managers the ability to account for the benefits of improved fishing yields derived from spatial protection while minimising revenue loss.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was funded by the Scottish Government Clyde 2020 project (ST02i) through Marine Scotland Science.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bailey, Dr David and Burns, Dr Neil and Hopkins, Miss Charlotte and Wright, Dr Peter
Authors: Burns, N. M., Hopkins, C. R., Bailey, D. M., and Wright, P. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Communications Biology
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2399-3642
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Communications Biology 3: 690
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1040

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