The poor health of deep-water species in the context of fishing activity and a warming climate: will populations of Molva species rebuild or collapse?

Type Article
Date 2021-06
Language English
Author(s) Lloret Josep1, Serrat Alba1, Þórðarson Guðmundur2, Helle Kristin3, Jadaud AngeliqueORCID4, Bruno Isabel5, Ordines Francesc6, Sartor Paolo7, Carbonara Pierluigi8, Rätz Hans-Joachim9
Affiliation(s) 1 : University of Girona; Institute of Aquatic Ecology; Girona Catalonia, Spain
2 : Marine and Freshwater Research Institute; Reykjavík, Iceland
3 : Institute of Marine Research; Bergen,Norway
4 : MARBEC, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, IRD; Sète, France
5 : Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Instituto Español de Oceanografía; Vigo ,Spain
6 : Centre Oceanogràfic de Balears, Instituto Español de Oceanografía; Palma de Mallorca, Spain
7 : CIBM Consorzio per il Centro Internuniversitario di Biologia Marina ed Ecologia Applicata “G. Bacci”; Livorno ,Italy
8 : COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Stazione Sperimentale per lo Studio delle Risorse del Mare; Bari, Italy
9 : Thünen Institut; Bremerhaven, Germany
Source Journal Of Fish Biology (0022-1112) (Wiley), 2021-06 , Vol. 98 , N. 6 , P. 1572-1584
DOI 10.1111/jfb.14347
WOS© Times Cited 7
Note SPECIAL ISSUE: Effects of global warming on fishes and fisheries. Guest Editors: David McKenzie, Benjamin Geffroy, Tony Farrell.
Keyword(s) condition, deep-water fish, fisheries, parasitism, reproduction, sea warming

Many deep‐water fish populations, being k‐selected species, have little resilience to overexploitation and may be at serious risk of depletion as a consequence. Sea warming represents an additional threat. In this study, the condition, or health, of several populations of common ling (Molva molva), blue ling (M. dypterygia) and Mediterranean or Spanish ling (M. macrophthalma) inhabiting different areas in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean was evaluated, in order to shed light on the challenges these deep water species are facing in the context of fishing activity and a warming climate. The data on the condition of Molva populations which we analyze here has been complemented with data on abundance and, for the southernmost species (Mediterranean ling), with two other health indicators (parasitism and hepatosomatic index). Despite some exceptions (e.g., common ling in Icelandic waters), this study shows that the condition of many populations of Molva species in the Northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea has worsened, a trend which, in recent decades, has usually been found to be accompanied by a decline in their abundance. In addition, the poor health status of most of the populations of common ling, blue ling and Mediterranean ling considered in this analysis points to a lower sustainability of these populations in the future. Overall, the health status and abundance of Molva populations in the Northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean suggest that only some populations located in the north Atlantic may be able to rebuild, whereas the populations in southern North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which are probably most at risk from sea warming, are facing serious difficulties in doing so. In the context of fisheries and global warming, our results strongly indicate that management bodies need to consider the health status of many of the populations of Molva species, particularly in southern European waters, before implementing their decisions.

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Lloret Josep, Serrat Alba, Þórðarson Guðmundur, Helle Kristin, Jadaud Angelique, Bruno Isabel, Ordines Francesc, Sartor Paolo, Carbonara Pierluigi, Rätz Hans-Joachim (2021). The poor health of deep-water species in the context of fishing activity and a warming climate: will populations of Molva species rebuild or collapse? Journal Of Fish Biology, 98(6), 1572-1584. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :