Incorporating density dependence in pup production in a stock assessment of NE Atlantic spurdogPublished online on 13. August 2013
Incorporating density dependence in pup production in a stock assessment of NE Atlantic spurdog Squalus acanthias
José A. A. De Oliveira, James R. Ellis and Helen Dobby
An age- and sex-structured stock assessment model for Northeast Atlantic spurdog Squalus acanthias is presented that includes length-based processes, such as maturation, pup production, growth, and gear selectivity, with a length-at-age relationship to convert length to age. It relates pup production functionally to numbers of pregnant females, allowing for density-dependent effects. The model was fitted to a combined Scottish groundfish survey biomass index, to proportion-by-length category data from both trawl surveys and commercial catch sampling from target and non-target fisheries, and to fecundity data. The model was run from 1905 to better reflect virgin conditions and to allow early fecundity data to be fitted in order to estimate the extent of density dependence in pup production. The model estimated 2010 population levels to be about 23% relative to 1955 and 19% relative to 1905. Results confirm that the stock is depleted, but not to the extent estimated in a previous assessment. Current estimates of depletion would support an IUCN listing of “Endangered”, but not “Critically Endangered”. Model projections showed that a TAC of 1422 t (the last non-zero TAC) would allow future population growth.
ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi.10.1093/icesjms/fst080.