A mechanistic framework to inform the spatial management of conflicting fisheries and top predators
Conflicts of interest between resource extraction and conservation are widespread, and negotiating such conflicts, or trade-offs, is a key issue for ecosystem managers. One such trade-off is resource competition between fisheries and marine top predators. Managing this trade-off has so far been difficult due to a lack of knowledge regarding the amount and distribution of prey required by top predators.
Here, we develop a framework that can be used to address this gap: a bio-energetic model linking top predator breeding biology and foraging ecology with forage fish ecology and fisheries management.
We apply the framework to a Baltic Sea colony of common guillemots Uria aalge and razorbills Alca torda, two seabird species sensitive to local prey depletion, and show that densities of forage fish (sprat Sprattus sprattus and herring Clupea harengus) corresponding to the current fisheries management target BMSY are sufficient for successful breeding. A previously proposed fisheries management target for conserving seabirds, 1/3 of historical maximum prey biomass (B1/3), was also sufficient.
However, the results highlight the importance of maintaining sufficient prey densities in the vicinity of the colony, suggesting that fine-scale spatial fisheries management is necessary to maintain high seabird breeding success.
Despite foraging on the same prey, razorbills could breed successfully at lower prey densities than guillemots but needed higher densities for self-maintenance, emphasizing the importance of considering species-specific traits when determining sustainable forage fish densities for top predators.
Synthesis and applications. Our bio-energetic modelling framework provides spatially explicit top predator conservation targets that can be readily integrated with current fisheries management. The framework can be combined with existing management approaches such as dynamic ocean management, marine spatial planning and management strategy evaluation to inform ecosystem-based management of marine resources.
Research news | 2021-11-25
Nine ways to produce more sustainable and affordable blue food
Greater attention should be paid to improving the productivity and environmental performance of affordable and accessible aquatic species
Research news | 2021-11-24
Carl Folke awarded the Prince Albert I Grand Medal 2021
Praised for his pioneering work in resilience thinking and sustainability of the ocean
Research news | 2021-11-23
Resilient futures in the Bahamas
New study on Andros Island in the Bahamas shows the power of using scenarios for sustainable development planning
Research news | 2021-11-23
Why forest owners should consider mixed forests or continuous cover forestry
Increased resilience to storms comes at the expense of private economic return, but forest owners of highly vulnerable land may profit from mixed forests and continuous cover forestry
Research news | 2021-11-18
Helping design smarter urban green spaces
New climate platform offers residents in Stockholm suburb real-time access to how greeneries influence local weather conditions
Research news | 2021-11-17
Centre researchers among world's most cited again
Carl Folke, Johan Rockström, Reinette “Oonsie” Biggs, Thomas Elmqvist and Per Olsson on exclusive list of world’s most influential researchers