Combining indicator trends to assess ongoing changes in exploited fish communities: Diagnostic of communities off the coasts of France

  • Rochet M
  • Trenkel V
  • Bellail R
 et al. 
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We present a method for combining individual indicator results into a comprehensive diagnostic of fishing impacts on fish populations and communities. A conceptual framework for interpreting combined trends in a set of simple indicators is proposed, relying beforehand on qualitative expectations anchored in ecological theory. The initial state of the community is first assessed using published information. Which combinations of trends are acceptable or undesirable is decided, depending on the initial status. The indicators are then calculated from a time-series and their time trends are estimated as the slopes of linear models. Finally, the test results are combined within the predefined framework, providing a diagnostic on the dynamics of fishing impacts on populations and communities. The method is demonstrated for nine coastal and shelf-sea fish communities monitored by French surveys. Most communities were persistently or increasingly impacted by fishing. In addition, climate change seems to have contributed to changes in East Atlantic communities. © 2005 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries management
  • Indicators
  • Multispecies fisheries
  • Scientific surveys

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  • Marie Joëlle Rochet

  • Verena Trenkel

  • Robert Bellail

  • Franck Coppin

  • Olivier Le Pape

  • Jean Claude Mahé

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