Forecasting fish stock dynamics under climate change: Baltic herring (Clupea harengus) as a case study

V. Bartolino, P. Margonski, Martin Lindegren, H.W. Linderholm, M. Cardinale, D. Rayner, H. Wennhage, M. Casini

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Climate change and anthropogenic disturbances may affect marine populations and ecosystems through multiple pathways. In this study we present a framework in which we integrate existing models and knowledge on basic regulatory processes to investigate the potential impact of future scenarios of fisheries exploitation and climate change on the temporal dynamics of the central Baltic herring stock. Alternative scenarios of increasing sea surface temperature and decreasing salinity of the Baltic Sea from a global climate model were combined with two alternative fishing scenarios, and their direct and ecosystem-mediated effects (i.e., through predation by cod and competition with sprat) on the herring population were evaluated for the period 2010-2050. Gradual increase in temperature has a positive impact on the long-term productivity of the herring stock, but it has the potential to enhance the recovery of the herring stock only in combination with sustainable fisheries management (i.e., Fmsy). Conversely, projections of herring spawning stock biomass (SSB) were generally low under elevated fishing mortality levels (Fhigh), comparable with those experienced by the stock during the 1990s. Under the combined effects of long-term warming and high fishing mortality uncertainty in herring SSB projections was higher and increasing for the duration of the forecasts, suggesting a synergistic effect of fishery exploitation and climate forcing on fish populations dynamics. Our study shows that simulations of long-term fish dynamics can be an informative tool to derive expectations of the potential long-term impact of alternative future scenarios of exploitation and climate change
Original languageEnglish
JournalFisheries Oceanography
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)258-269
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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