Simulation of mackerel (Scomber scombrus) recruitment with an individual-based model and comparison with field data
Bartsch, J. and Reid, D. and Coombs, S.H. (2004) Simulation of mackerel (Scomber scombrus) recruitment with an individual-based model and comparison with field data. Fisheries Oceanography, 13 (6). pp. 380-391. ISSN 1054-6006
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An individual-based model (IBM) for the simulation of year-to-year survival during the early life-history stages of the north-east Atlantic stock of mackerel (Scomber scombrus) was developed within the EU funded Shelf-Edge Advection, Mortality and Recruitment (SEAMAR) programme. The IBM included transport, growth and survival and was used to track the passive movement of mackerel eggs, larvae and post-larvae and determine their distribution and abundance after approximately 2 months of drift. One of the main outputs from the IBM, namely distributions and numbers of surviving post-larvae, are compared with field data as recruit (age-0/age-1 juveniles) distribution and abundance for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000. The juvenile distributions show more inter-annual and spatial variability than the modelled distributions of survivors; this may be due to the restriction of using the same initial egg distribution for all 3 yr of simulation. The IBM simulations indicate two main recruitment areas for the north-east Atlantic stock of mackerel, these being Porcupine Bank and the south-eastern Bay of Biscay. These areas correspond to areas of high juvenile catches, although the juveniles generally have a more widespread distribution than the model simulations. The best agreement between modelled data and field data for distribution (juveniles and model survivors) is for the year 1998. The juvenile catches in different representative nursery areas are totalled to give a field abundance index (FAI). This index is compared with a model survivor index (MSI) which is calculated from the total of survivors for the whole spawning season. The MSI compares favourably with the FAI for 1998 and 1999 but not for 2000; in this year, juvenile catches dropped sharply compared with the previous years but there was no equivalent drop in modelled survivors.
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