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Historical spatiotemporal dynamics of eastern North Sea cod

Journal article
Authors Valerio Bartolino
Massimiliano Cardinale
Henrik Svedäng
Hans W. Linderholm
Michele Casini
Anders Grimwall
Published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume 69
Issue 5
Pages 833-841
ISSN 0706-652X
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 833-841
Language en
Subject categories Marine ecology


Recent analyses of historical data of fish abundance and distribution have shown the importance of a long temporal perspective in the evaluation of the current status of fish populations, but pose numerous difficulties such as fragmentation and inhomogeneities in the amount of available information in space and time. Using mixed-effects models in a multiscale analysis, we identified an appropriate spatiotemporal scale of investigation of a high-quality, spatially explicit historical data set, and we reconstructed the long-term spatial dynamics of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the Kattegat– Skagerrak along the 20th century. We identified a northern and southern main aggregation of adult cod in the study area, corresponding to the Skagerrak portion of the North Sea and the Kattegat cod stocks, respectively. The stocks showed specificities in their spatial dynamics, but common extensive loss of coastal aggregations during the last decades when only 13% (Kattegat) and 35% (Skagerrak) of the estimated early century cod biomass was left. Our reconstruction showed that the collapse of the cod stocks in the area followed the peak in landings in the 1960s–1970s, suggesting that the postwar development of the industrial fisheries played a major role in the decrease of local abundances and disappearance of local adult cod aggregations.

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