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Fishery Recruitment

It is argument whether the climate change has a direct impact on fish recruitment on GB. Dr. Brian Rothschild leads a team at SMAST, with collaboration with Dr. Chen at SMAST/UMASSD and Dr. Lough at NMFS, on fishery recruitment study on GB. The process-oriented modeling efforts are made by Dr. Chen’s group at SMAST.

This is a new ongoing project. A fish larval model is being developed at SMAST. Preliminary modeling experiments have clearly shown that fishery recruitment is directly related to the interannual variability of the meteorological forcing and thus the circulation. Brown Bank is believed to be one of key sources for fish larvae which can not ignored in recruitment studies. Examples for Lagrangian larval tracking experiments are posted to show the preliminary status of the development of the fish larval model.

1995 Releases

1999 Releases



Cod recruitment in the western Gulf of Maine

Applying data information and modeling tools to ecosystem based fisheries management in the western Gulf of Maine.


In coastal areas, dispersal of early planktonic life stages of fish and invertebrate species is highly dependent on the variability of the physical forcing. Towards obtaining an operational tool for recruitment studies of Atlantic cod (Gadhus morhua), we need to (1) improve our knowledge about the biology of this specie (location and timing of spawning, larval duration, settlement, suitable nursery habitats, behavior), and (2) develop a modeling tool able to reproduce physical and biological processes affecting early life stage history.

For the first part, collaboration with local fishermen helped us define locations and timing of spawning of cod in the coastal Gulf of Maine, as well as suitable nursery areas. For the second part, we used FVCOM to assess transport success from major defined spawning grounds to nursery areas with particle tracking. We showed that special caution should be taken when using modeling to assess the dispersal patterns of larvae, since the transport is highly sensitive to the setup of the hydrodynamic model (resolution, forcing, turbulence), and to the accuracy we have on spatial and temporal definition of the spawning.

The state-of-the-art FVCOM system gave us the opportunity to approach a realistic dispersal pattern for cod larvae within the complex circulation of the western Gulf of Maine. We plan to further validate this model by adding larval behavior to the transport, and study its interannual variability with possible consequences for the recruitment.

This project is a collaboration between COOA, the Coastal Observing center in UNH (University of New Hampshire) and SMAST. Martin Huret has been working in 2005-2006 on this project with Jeffrey Runge (UNH) and Changsheng Chen (UMASSD).

  Go to COOA's modeling website for more information and results on this project.


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