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Responses of ecological indicators to fishing pressure under environmental change: exploring non-linearity and thresholds


Fu, C and Xu, Y and Gruss, A and Bundy, A and Shannon, L and Heymans, JJ and Halouani, G and Akoglu, E and Lynam, CP and Coll, M and Fulton, EA and Velez, L and Shin, Y-J, Responses of ecological indicators to fishing pressure under environmental change: exploring non-linearity and thresholds, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 77, (4) pp. 1516-1531. ISSN 1054-3139 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2019. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (

DOI: doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsz182


Marine ecosystems are influenced by multiple stressors in both linear and non-linear ways. Using generalized additive models (GAMs) fitted to outputs from a multi-ecosystem, multi-model simulation experiment, we investigated 14 major ecological indicators across ten marine ecosystems about their responses to fishing pressure under: (i) three different fishing strategies (focusing on low-, high-, or all-trophic-level taxa); and (ii) four different scenarios of directional or random primary productivity change, a proxy for environmental change. From this work, we draw four major conclusions: (i) responses of indicators to fishing mortality in shapes, directions, and thresholds depend on the fishing strategies considered; (ii) most of the indicators demonstrate decreasing trends with increasing fishing mortality, with a few exceptions depending on the type of fishing strategy; (iii) most of the indicators respond to fishing mortality in a linear way, particularly for community and biomass-based indicators; and (iv) occurrence of threshold for non-linear-mixed type (i.e. non-linear with inflection points) is not prevalent within the fishing mortality rates explored. The conclusions drawn from the present study provide a knowledge base in indicators’ dynamics under different fishing and primary productivity levels, thereby facilitating the application of ecosystem-based fisheries management worldwide.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ecosystem-based fisheries management, generalized additive model, marine ecosystem model, non-linear response, primary productivity
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Fulton, EA (Dr Elizabeth Fulton)
ID Code:143239
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-03-06
Last Modified:2021-09-09
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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