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Evaluating harvest strategies that account for fish population structure: an integrative review of key uncertainties and future research needs

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Author: Xu, Jie
Fisheries management decisions are guided by the outcomes from stock assessment models, which typically assume that fish stocks represent single homogenous populations. However, species normally exhibit complex spatial structure. Using outputs from spatially aggregated stock assessment models to inform harvest strategies in spatially structured fisheries could lead to management failure and erosion of biocomplexity. This paper summarizes how spatial population structure has been addressed in the fisheries literature and explores options for developing harvest strategies that address fish population spatial structure. I also highlight common pitfalls and data needs associated with spatial modeling and harvest strategies. Continued investment in spatial and finer-scale data collection and associated spatial analysis are necessary to develop effective spatial harvest strategies. I conclude that developing spatial modelling and harvest strategies for fishery species is an important step to address the complex nature of marine population structure.
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