Climate and Fisheries

Climate change is impacting global fisheries and societies that depend on them. Anticipating and adapting to future impacts of climate change requires understanding how environmental change and management policies interact in driving fishery productivity. Our work aims to identify the mechanisms by which climate and fishing affect life-history traits and population dynamics. Using simulation models, we then forecast fishery productivity based on various climate and management scenarios. For instance, our work on the New England lobster fishery demonstrated that sound, well adopted fishery conservation measures, such as the protection of larger reproductive individuals, helps capitalize on gains and mitigate losses caused by global climate change.

  • Sample papers: (Le Bris et al. 2018 PNAS ; Pershing et al. 2015 Science)

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    Fish Movement

    High resolution fishery (semi) independent data recorded by electronic archival tags can provide unique insights into the annual migratory behaviour of marine fish and informed their assessment and management. The first step in analyzing time series recorded by electronic tags is often to estimate the position of the tagged individual from recorded environmental variables (light, depth, temperature). This can be especially difficult for groundfish, because they are distributed too deep to obtain reliable light signals. A portion of our research is to develop geolocation models to reconstruct annual migration patterns of groundfish equipped with archival tags in the Northwest Atlantic. To date, we have successfully applied our models to Atlantic cod and Atlantic halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Reconstructed tracks have allowed to identify migration corridors, spawning and feeding areas, revealed partial migration, and informed on a more effective spatiotemporal design for a fishery closure. The next step in our research is to develop quantitative approaches to integrate movement data from electronic tags into fish stock assessment model.

  • Sample papers: (Le Bris et al. 2017 ICES ; Le Bris et al. 2013 Fish. Res.)

  • Coastal Habitats

    Coastal habitats provide numerous ecosystems services to human societies. Coastal development, pollution, invasive species and climate change have long been impacted coastal habitats and reducing the amount and quality of benefits derived from coastal ecosystems. Government agencies are increasingly imposing that human development activities incorporate measures to mitigate or compensate for the impacts on coastal habitats. Ensuring that compensation programs are effective require to understand the variability in ecosystems services provided by coastal habitats and quantifying this variability. Our research aims to characterize and quantify ecosystem functions and subsequent services provided by coastal habitats (natural and artificial). This research will inform and facilitate more effective habitat restoration and compensation policies.