Eight decades of adaptive changes in herring reproductive investment: the joint effect of environment and exploitation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonICES Journal of Marine Science. 2021, 78 (2), 631–639. 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa123
Reproductive investment is a central trait for population dynamics and productivity. Fishing and environmental variations are major drivers affecting population structure, dynamics, and adaptation of life-history and behavioural traits. However, those factors are often considered independently, and few studies take into account their joint effect. In this study, we investigate the contribution of environment, fishing pressure, and intra-specific competition to variation in the reproductive investment of the Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus), a stock that has been fished for centuries, and monitored for decades. Reproductive investment and post-spawning weight were affected differently by growth rate (measured as mean age-at-length), sea surface temperature, North Atlantic Oscillation, and spawning stock biomass in periods with no fishing, unselective fishing, and low but size-selective fishing. We hypothesize that those changes can be explained by direct effects of exploitation such as age truncation and changes in migration patterns. Our results highlight how fishing, by affecting population-level dynamics, can modify the impact of environmental variations on life-history traits.