Fishery Rebuilding Plans in the Face of Climate Change

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 8:20 AM
301A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Richard Bell , Narragansett Lab, NRC/NEFSC/NMFS, Narragansett, RI
Jon Hare , National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Narragansett, RI
John A. Manderson , James Howard Marine Science Laboratory, NOAA Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Sandy Hook, Highlands, NJ
With the passage of the Magnuson - Stevenson act, rebuilding plans were implemented in the United States to provide a legally binding time-line to reduce overfishing.  For many species, fishing pressure was the major driver controlling stock status, swamping all other factors.  As fishing pressure declined, the potential increased for the physical environment to influence species.  Intrinsic rates such as growth and mortality are modulated by oceanographic conditions, which vary in time and space; therefore, rebuilding projections developed assuming constant intrinsic rates may not be realistic.  Our goal was to examine the rebuilding potential of winter flounder on the northeast shelf in the face of regional warming. We integrated winter temperature into an assessment model to estimate environmentally driven stock-recruit parameters and then used the parameters to project the stock into the future under different climate and fishing scenarios.  Winter temperature improved the fit of the assessment model, but increased the uncertainty around the estimates.  Future projections suggest that rebuilding the stock to historical levels is unlikely, but the probability of meeting rebuilding targets varies depending on climate prediction scenarios.  The integration of both fishing and the environment has the potential to provide more realistic expectations of future stock status.