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Six decades of pike and perch population dynamics in Windermere

Langangen, Oystein; Edeline, Eric; Ohlberger, Jan; Winfield, Ian J.; Fletcher, Janice M.; James, J. Ben; Stenseth, Nils Chr.; Vollestad, L. Asbjorn. 2011 Six decades of pike and perch population dynamics in Windermere. Fisheries Research, 109 (1). 131-139. 10.1016/j.fishres.2011.01.029

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Abstract/Summary

We use six decades of catch-at-age data for perch (Perca fluviatilis) and pike (Esox lucius) in Windermere (UK) to estimate age- and sex-specific population sizes, natural mortalities and catchabilities in both species. Population sizes are estimated by fitting age structured population models to the catch-at-age data using standard maximum likelihood methods. We validate our methods using data simulations, and use our estimates of vital rates (natural mortality, recruitment and catahability) to address important aspects of fisheries biology. Our model indicates that strong fishery selection against male perch apparently triggered a population collapse, highlighting that sex-selective fisheries can be harmful even at a reasonable exploitation rate (here ≤30%). Recruitment (R) increased with the abundance of spawners (S) in both species, but it also responded to both abiotic and other biotic factors. In particular, increased predator (pike) abundance induced a change from compensation to depensation in the prey (perch) SR relationship, thus favouring the occurrence of an Allee effect. Our study provides reference points for the effective exploitation of pike and perch populations, and underscores the need for ecosystem-based harvesting management.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.fishres.2011.01.029
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes
CEH Sections: Parr
ISSN: 0165-7836
Additional Keywords: age-structured population models, fish stock assessment, hyperdepletion, intraguild predation, population dynamics
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 31 Mar 2011 15:02
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8997

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