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Ontogenetic deepening of Northeast Atlantic fish stocks is not driven by fishing exploitation

Baudron, AR, Pecl, G ORCID: 0000-0003-0192-4339, Gardner, C ORCID: 0000-0003-0324-4337, Fernandes, PG and Audzijonyte, A ORCID: 0000-0002-9919-9376 2019 , 'Ontogenetic deepening of Northeast Atlantic fish stocks is not driven by fishing exploitation' , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, vol. 116, no. 7 , pp. 2390-2392 , doi: 10.1073/pnas.1817295116.

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Abstract

For many marine fish species, the average size of individuals increases with depth. This phenomenon, first described a century ago, is known as ontogenetic deepening (1, 2). Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain it: optimal foraging; predation avoidance; and different optimal growth temperature for larger individuals, causing them to seek deeper and cooler waters to optimize growth and reproduction (3). In their recent paper in PNAS, Frank et al. (4) suggest an alternative explanation. They examined age-structured data from Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the eastern Scotian Shelf, a stock that has experienced successive periods of intense, and absence of, fishing. In their study, fishing explained 72% of the variation in the observed age-related deepening, with the remaining variability attributed to ontogenetic deepening. They conclude that higher abundances of large fish in deeper waters is an artifact of greater fishing intensity at shallower depths and question whether ontogenetic deepening is a real ecological phenomenon.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Baudron, AR and Pecl, G and Gardner, C and Fernandes, PG and Audzijonyte, A
Keywords: ontogenetic deepening, Atlantic fish
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America
Publisher: Natl Acad Sciences
ISSN: 1091-6490
DOI / ID Number: 10.1073/pnas.1817295116
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 The Authors

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