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Tommasi, D, Stock CA, Pegion K, Vecchi GA, Methot RD, Alexander MA, Checkley DM.  2017.  Improved management of small pelagic fisheries through seasonal climate prediction. Ecological Applications. 27:378-388.   10.1002/eap.1458   AbstractWebsite

Populations of small pelagic fish are strongly influenced by climate. The inability of managers to anticipate environment-driven fluctuations in stock productivity or distribution can lead to overfishing and stock collapses, inflexible management regulations inducing shifts in the functional response to human predators, lost opportunities to harvest populations, bankruptcies in the fishing industry, and loss of resilience in the human food supply. Recent advances in dynamical global climate prediction systems allow for sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly predictions at a seasonal scale over many shelf ecosystems. Here we assess the utility of SST predictions at this fishery relevant scale to inform management, using Pacific sardine as a case study. The value of SST anomaly predictions to management was quantified under four harvest guidelines (HGs) differing in their level of integration of SST data and predictions. The HG that incorporated stock biomass forecasts informed by skillful SST predictions led to increases in stock biomass and yield, and reductions in the probability of yield and biomass falling below socioeconomic or ecologically acceptable levels. However, to mitigate the risk of collapse in the event of an erroneous forecast, it was important to combine such forecast-informed harvest controls with additional harvest restrictions at low biomass.

Rykaczewski, RR, Checkley DM.  2008.  Influence of ocean winds on the pelagic ecosystem in upwelling regions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105:1965-1970.   10.1073/pnas.0711777105   AbstractWebsite

Upwelling of nutrient-rich, subsurface water sustains high productivity in the ocean's eastern boundary currents. These ecosystems support a rate of fish harvest nearly 100 times the global mean and account for >20% of the world's marine fish catch. Environmental variability is thought to be the major cause of the decadal-scale biomass fluctuations characteristic of fish populations in these regions, but the mechanisms relating atmospheric physics to fish production remain unexplained. Two atmospheric conditions induce different types of, upwelling in these ecosystems: coastal, alongshore wind stress, resulting in rapid upwelling (with high vertical velocity, w); and wind-stress curl, resulting in slower upwelling (low w). We show that the level of wind-stress curl has increased and that production of Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) varies with wind-stress curl over the past six decades. The extent of isopycnal shoaling, nutricline depth, and chlorophyll concentration in the upper ocean also correlate positively with wind-stress curl. The size structure of plankton assemblages is related to the rate of wind-forced upwelling, and sardine feed efficiently on small plankters generated by slow upwelling. Upwelling rate is a fundamental determinant of the biological structure and production in coastal pelagic ecosystems, and future changes in the magnitude and spatial gradient of wind stress may have important and differing effects on these ecosystems. Understanding of the biological mechanisms relating fisheries production to environmental variability is essential for wise management of marine resources under a changing climate.