An end-to-end model to evaluate the sensitivity of ecosystem indicators to track fishing impacts

Type Article
Date 2019-03
Language English
Author(s) Halouani GhassenORCID1, 2, 3, Le Loc'h François2, Shin Yunne-Jai4, 5, Velez Laure4, Hattab Tarek6, Romdhane Mohamed Salah1, Ben Rais Lasram Frida7
Affiliation(s) 1 : UR 03AGRO1 Ecosystèmes et Ressources Aquatiques, Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie, 43 Avenue Charles Nicolle, 1082 Tunis, Tunisia
2 : UMR 6539 Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement Marin (CNRS, UBO, IRD, Ifremer), Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, Rue Dumont d'Urville, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 : Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland
4 : MARBEC (IRD, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS), Université de Montpellier, Bat. 24 – CC 093 Place Eugène, Bataillon 34095, Montpellier cedex 5, France
5 : University of Cape Town, Ma-Re Institute, Dept of Biological Sciences, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
6 : MARBEC (IRD, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS), Centre Ifremer, Avenue Jean Monnet, CS 30171, 34203 Sète Cedex, France
7 : Univ. Littoral Côte d’Opale, Univ. Lille, CNRS, UMR 8187, LOG, Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences, F 62930 Wimereux, France
Source Ecological Indicators (1470-160X) (Elsevier BV), 2019-03 , Vol. 98 , P. 121-130
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.10.061
WOS© Times Cited 12
Keyword(s) Ecological indicators, OSMOSE, Ecosystem model, End-to-end model, Marine ecosystem, Fishing impacts, Fishery, Gulf of Gabes

In order to assist fisheries managers, ecological indicators are needed to evaluate the effects of fishing activities on marine ecosystems and to improve communication of these effects in both public and scientific contexts. Finding appropriate indicators is challenging given the complexity of marine food webs as well as the ecosystem response to fishing pressure. In this study, an end-to-end model developed in the Gulf of Gabes ecosystem (Tunisia) was used to compare the performance of a set of ecosystem indicators in assessing the impact of fishing. This end-to-end model aimed to represent the ecosystem functioning by coupling two existing sub-models, the multispecies individual-based model OSMOSE, representing the dynamics of exploited species and the biogeochemical model Eco3M-Med. The aim of the indicator selection method is to evaluate the sensitivity of a set of ecological indicators regardless the fishing management plan. This method was performed in two major steps. The first step consisted in simulating three simple contrasted fishing strategies in the OSMOSE model exploiting target species (i.e. high trophic level, low trophic level or all species) and then applying a fishing effort multiplier for each fishing strategy to the focus target species. In the second step, three paradigms defining the desirable properties of an ecological indicator have been specified: i/the indicator decreases with increasing fishing pressure, ii/the indicator responds linearly to an increase in fishing pressure and iii/the indicator responds consistently across different fishing strategies. Our results highlighted that the majority of indicators have quite similar performance regarding the trend and the linearity of their responses. However, the size-based indicators seem to be the most robust to track ecosystem effects of fishing when the fishing strategy changes. A focus on size-based indicators showed that Large Fish Indicators (40 cm) derived from demersal or all surveyed species were the most suitable to reflect a change in the status of the Gulf of Gabes ecosystem due to fishing pressure.

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