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Ontogenetic deepening of Northeast Atlantic fish stocks is not driven by fishing exploitation


Baudron, AR and Pecl, G and Gardner, C and Fernandes, PG and Audzijonyte, A, Ontogenetic deepening of Northeast Atlantic fish stocks is not driven by fishing exploitation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, 116, (7) pp. 2390-2392. ISSN 1091-6490 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1817295116


For many marine fish species, the average size of individuals increases with depth. This phenomenon, first described a century ago, is known as ontogenetic deepening (1, 2). Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain it: optimal foraging; predation avoidance; and different optimal growth temperature for larger individuals, causing them to seek deeper and cooler waters to optimize growth and reproduction (3). In their recent paper in PNAS, Frank et al. (4) suggest an alternative explanation. They examined age-structured data from Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the eastern Scotian Shelf, a stock that has experienced successive periods of intense, and absence of, fishing. In their study, fishing explained 72% of the variation in the observed age-related deepening, with the remaining variability attributed to ontogenetic deepening. They conclude that higher abundances of large fish in deeper waters is an artifact of greater fishing intensity at shallower depths and question whether ontogenetic deepening is a real ecological phenomenon.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ontogenetic deepening, Atlantic fish
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pecl, G (Professor Gretta Pecl)
UTAS Author:Gardner, C (Professor Caleb Gardner)
UTAS Author:Audzijonyte, A (Dr Asta Audzijonyte)
ID Code:130482
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2019-01-29
Last Modified:2020-01-14

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