Publication Detail

Incorporating Spatial Population Structure in Stock Assessment Models of Marine Species

Daniel R. Goethel, Lisa A. Kerr, Steven X. Cadrin
15 pp.
MITSG 12-30
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT

Centuries of fisheries research demonstrate that marine species exhibit complex spatial structure. Yet, spatially-explicit population dynamics models have only begun to gain popularity in the last two decades. Ignoring the spatial complexities of sub-population structure can be detrimental to sustainable fisheries management and lead to loss of biocomplexity. Recently, spatially-explicit assessment models have been developed in an attempt to match the spatial scales of natural populations. These models can incorporate a variety of spatial population structures, but are limited by data constraints. We describe a generic spatially-explicit tag-integrated stock assessment framework and the advanced data requirements for successful implementation of these types of models. Application of tag-integrated assessments requires knowledge of the population structure, fine-scale data, and information on connectivity between population components often in the form of tagging data. Spatially-explicit, tag-integrated models also use more conventional assessment information, such as catch-at-age and indices of abundance. The increase in resolution and realistic biological characteristics of spatially-explicit models comes at the cost of data sample size and associated increases in uncertainty. However, the development of fine-scale population models is imperative to effectively assess and manage spatially-structured marine populations.

type: Presentations

Parent Project

Project No.: 2010-E/E-62
Title: Daniel Goethel - MIT Sea Grant - NMFS Population Dynamics Sea Grant Fellowship: A more realistic assessment of yellowtail flounder using spatial aspects of population dynamics