Lead author Becca Selden (Wellesley College) and co-author Malin Pinsky (Rutgers University) are part of a research group that conducted a new study published in ICES Journal of Marine Science, entitled “Coupled changes in biomass and distribution drive trends in availability of fish stocks to US West Coast ports.”

The authors investigated the vulnerability of fishing communities along the U.S. West Coast due to stock availability to fishing ports, by analyzing trends in biomass and distribution shifts of the following five commercially-targeted species: dover sole, thornyheads, sablefish, lingcod and petrale sole. Using groundfish data from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) spanning four decades (1980-2017), they analyzed the species’ distribution, assessed stock biomass (measured from stock availability to ports), and calculated landings from bottom-trawl fishing vessels that operate along the California Current. They also developed an index of port-specific availability for these species by combining information on the distances trawling vessels travel and the stock availability estimates for those species. By coupling resulting stock biomass assessments with distribution shifts, the authors could then determine what each of the species’ distinct trajectory and availability would be. Their results showed that the timing and severity of stock declines and recoveries are experienced unevenly in areas along the coast when species distribution shifts are also occurring. In other words, the stock availability at smaller regional scales may increase or decrease relative to the stock-wide scale. They conclude by raising the possibility of considering a port-centric approach combined with projected future fish biomass and distributions at a regional or global scale, to better prepare fishing communities that are vulnerable to these “species on the move”.

The above description was taken from the reference below

Selden, R. L., Thorson, J. T., Samhouri, J. F., Bograd, S. J., Brodie, S., Carroll, G., Haltuch, M. A., Hazen, E. L., Holsman, K. K., Pinsky, M. L.,Tolimieri, N., and Willis-Norton, E. Coupled changes in biomass and distribution drive trends in availability of fish stocks to US WestCoast ports. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsz2

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