Stocking strategies for a pre-alpine whitefish population under temperature stress

Ficker, H., Mazzucco, R., Gassner, H., Wanzenboeck, J., & Dieckmann, U. ORCID: (2016). Stocking strategies for a pre-alpine whitefish population under temperature stress. Ecological Modelling 320 170-176. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.10.002.

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Cold-water fish stocks are increasingly affected by steadily increasing water temperatures. The question arises whether stock management can be adapted to mitigate the consequences of this climatic change. Here, we estimate the effects of increasing water temperatures on fisheries yield and population dynamics of whitefish, a typical cold-water fish species. Using a process-based population model calibrated on an empirical long-term data set for the whitefish population (Coregons lavaretus (L.) species complex) of the pre-alpine Lake Irrsee, Austria, we project density-dependent and temperature-dependent population growth and compare established stock enhancement strategies to alternative stocking strategies under the aspect of increasing water temperatures and cost neutrality. Additionally, we contrast the results obtained from the process-based model to the results from simple regression models and argue that the latter show qualitative inadequacies in projecting catch with rising temperatures. Our results indicate that increasing water temperatures reduce population biomass between 2.6% and 7.9% and catch by the fishery between 24% and 48%, depending on temperature scenario and natural mortality calculation. These reductions are caused by accelerated growth, smaller asymptotic size and lower annual survival of whitefish. Regarding stocking strategies under constant temperatures, we find that stocking mostly whitefish larvae, produces higher population biomass than stocking mostly one-summer-old whitefish, while catch remains almost constant. With increasing temperatures, stocking one-summer-old fish is more beneficial for the angling fishery. Adaption to climate change by changing stocking strategies cannot, however, prevent an overall reduction in catch and population size of this cold-water fish species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: angling; climate change; cold-water fish; growth probability; matrix model
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Modelling; 320:170-176 [January 2016] (Published online 11 November 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:54
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:25

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