Size-selective fishing drives species composition in the Celtic Sea

S. Shephard, T. Fung, J.E. Houle, Keith Farnsworth, D.G. Reid, Axel Rossberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fishing alters community size structure by selectively removing larger individual fish and by changing the relative abundance of different-sized species. To assess the relative importance of individual-and species-level effects, two indices of fish community structure were compared, the relative abundance of large fish individuals (large fish indicator, LFI) and the relative abundance of large fish species (large species indicator, LSI). The two indices were strongly correlated for empirical data from the Celtic Sea and for data from simulated model communities, suggesting that much of the variability in the LFI is caused by shifts in the relative abundance of species (LSI). This correlation is explained by the observation that most of the biomass of a given species is spread over few length classes, a range spanning the factor 2 of individual length, such that most species contributed predominantly to either the small or the large component of the LFI. The results suggest that the effects of size-selective fishing in the Celtic Sea are mediated mainly through changes in community composition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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