Evaluating the sustainability of a Cisco Fishery in Thunder Bay, Ontario under alternate harvest control rules

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Sustainable management of fish stocks is promoted through the application of Management Strategy Evaluations, providing information to managers on the relative performance of alternative management approaches (strategies) while accounting for uncertainty. In this study, we developed a simplified management strategy evaluation of a cisco, Coregonus artedi, stock in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to determine both the sustainability of the current harvest control rule (i.e., a constant exploitation rate of 10%) and the performance of alternative harvest control rules in meeting fishery objectives. Our simulations explicitly accounted for uncertainty in the frequency of strong year classes being produced by cisco, the stock-recruit relationship, stock abundance, and the sex-specific nature of roe harvest. Assuming future productivity is similar to that observed over the past 30 years, results suggest the current exploitation rate of 10% is sustainable in terms of maintaining spawning biomass above 20% of the unfished level. Variants of constant exploitation rate control rules that included biomass thresholds defining when exploitation rate is to decrease as a function of spawning stock size increased yield, decreased risk, and increased the magnitude of spawning biomass at the end of the simulation period. However, these advantages came at the expense of greater inter-annual variation in yield. Constant catch control rules greatly underperformed constant exploitation rate control rules in terms of magnitude in yield. Constant catch control rules, however, did reduce inter-annual variation in yield compared to constant exploitation rate control rules. Furthermore, conditional versions of constant catch control rules (i.e., threshold stock sizes below which catch limit was reduced) mitigated risks of staying at low stock size.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating the sustainability of a Cisco Fishery in Thunder Bay, Ontario under alternate harvest control rules
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10290
Edition Online First
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Country Canada
City Thunder Bay