Presentation Abstract

Forage fish undergo dramatic changes in abundance through time. Long-term fluctuations, which have historically been attributed to changes in recruitment, may also be due to changes in adult mortality. Pacific herring, a lightly exploited forage fish in Puget Sound, WA, have exhibited shifts in age structure and decreases in spawning biomass during the past 30 years. Here, we investigate changes in adult mortality as a potential explanation for these shifts. Using a hierarchical, age-structured population model, we indicate that adult natural mortality for Puget Sound Pacific herring has increased since 1973. We find that natural mortality has increased for every age class of adult (age 3+), especially age 4 fish, whose estimated mortality has doubled over the survey time period (from M=0.84 to M=1.76). We demonstrate that long-term shifts in mortality explain changes in age structure, and may explain biomass declines and failure to reach management thresholds for some spawning sites in Puget Sound. Temporal shifts in natural adult mortality could have negative implications for herring and herring predators. For predators, these implications include a reduction in the stability of the herring resource.

Session Title

Advances in the Understanding of Drivers of Change and Potential Conservation Actions for Pacific Herring in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Portfolio effects, Bayesian life history model, Clupea pallasii

Conference Track

SSE11: Species and Food Webs

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE11-423

Start Date

6-4-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

6-4-2018 1:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 1:30 PM Apr 6th, 1:45 PM

Age truncation and portfolio effects in Puget Sound Pacific herring

Forage fish undergo dramatic changes in abundance through time. Long-term fluctuations, which have historically been attributed to changes in recruitment, may also be due to changes in adult mortality. Pacific herring, a lightly exploited forage fish in Puget Sound, WA, have exhibited shifts in age structure and decreases in spawning biomass during the past 30 years. Here, we investigate changes in adult mortality as a potential explanation for these shifts. Using a hierarchical, age-structured population model, we indicate that adult natural mortality for Puget Sound Pacific herring has increased since 1973. We find that natural mortality has increased for every age class of adult (age 3+), especially age 4 fish, whose estimated mortality has doubled over the survey time period (from M=0.84 to M=1.76). We demonstrate that long-term shifts in mortality explain changes in age structure, and may explain biomass declines and failure to reach management thresholds for some spawning sites in Puget Sound. Temporal shifts in natural adult mortality could have negative implications for herring and herring predators. For predators, these implications include a reduction in the stability of the herring resource.