Do North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) fisheries maintain high catch rates at low stock size?

Anna Rindorf, Bo Sølgaard Andersen

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This study presents all investigation of the relationship between stock size of North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) and catch rates in seven commercial fishing fleets. The shape of the relationship was estimated using a model allowing both density-dependent changes in catchability and bias in the assessment biomass estimates. Catchability in fisheries targeting a mixed species composition either remained constant or decreased with decreasing stock size, whereas catchability in targeted cod fisheries increased with decreasing stock size. However, even ill the cases where catchability increased, the change was insufficient to compensate for the decrease in stock size, and catch rates of all fleets decreased. Two factors that could lead to nonconstant catchability were investigated: (i) the presence of decoupling between stock size and density ill high-density areas and (ii) the presence of concurrent shifts in the spatial distribution of the cod stock and the cod fishery. No evidence of the former was found but there was a northern shift in the spatial distribution of both effort and the cod stock.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1800-1813
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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