Addressing catch mechanisms in gillnets improves modeling of selectivity and estimates of mortality rates: a case study using survey data on an endangered stock of Arctic char

T. Jonsson, M. Setzer, John George Pope, A. Sandström

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Estimation of fish stock size distributions from survey data requires knowledge about gear selectivity. However, selectivity models rest on assumptions that seldom are analyzed. Departures from these can lead to misinterpretations and
biased management recommendations. Here, we use survey data on great Arctic char (Salvelinus umbla) to analyze how correcting for entanglement of fish and nonisometric growth might improve estimates of selectivity curves, and subsequently estimates of size distribution and age-specific mortality. Initial selectivity curves, using the entire data set, were wide and asymmetric, with
poor model fits. Removing potentially nonmeshed fish had the greatest positive effect on model fit, resulting in much narrower and less asymmetric selection curves, while attempting to take nonisometric growth into account, by using girth rather than length, improved model fit but not as much. Using simulations we show that correcting for both entanglement and size selectivity produces accurate estimates of mortality rates, while correcting for size selectivity only does not. Our study demonstrates an approach that increases the accuracy of estimates of fish size distributions and mortality rates from survey data
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume70
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1477-1487
ISSN0706-652X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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