Management strategy evaluation for the Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima) using a spatially explicit, vessel-based fisheries model

Issue:

Author(s): 
Kelsey M. Kuykendall, Eric N. Powell, John M. Klinck, Paula T. Moreno, and Robert T. Leaf
Cover date: 
2017
Abstract: 

The commercially valuable Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima) is harvested along the northeastern continental shelf of the United States. Its range has contracted and shifted north, driven by warmer bottom water temperatures. Declining landings per unit of effort (LPUE) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) is one result. Declining stock abundance and LPUE suggest that overfishing may be occurring off New Jersey. A management strategy evaluation (MSE) for the Atlantic surfclam is implemented to evaluate rotating closures to enhance Atlantic surfclam productivity and increase fishery viability in the MAB. Active agents of the MSE model are individual fishing vessels with performance and quota constraints influenced by captains’ behavior over a spatially varying population. Management alternatives include 2 rules regarding closure locations and 3 rules regarding closure durations. Simulations showed that stock biomass increased, up to 17%, under most alternative strategies in relation to estimated stock biomass under present-day management, and LPUE increased under most alternative strategies, by up to 21%. When incidental mortality caused by the fishery increased, the benefits seen under the alternative management were enhanced. These outcomes suggest that area management involving rotating closures could be valuable in insulating the stock and the commercial fishery from further declines as a northerly shift in range proceeds.

doi: 
10.7755/FB.115.3.3
Pages: 
300-325
Published online 4 May 2017