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Scientists link climate change and Atlantic croaker fishery
Date:3/24/2010

ocean and larvae enter estuaries in Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and Pamlico Sound 30 to 60 days after hatching. Juveniles spend their first winter in these estuarine nursery habitats. Temperature during this winter period is very important to juvenile survival.

Temperature forecasts were obtained from 14 General Circulation Models (GCMs) used by the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to simulate three carbon dioxide emission scenarios through 2100: atmospheric carbon dioxide fixed at 350 , 550 and 720 parts per million (ppm). By comparison, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in February 2010 was 389.91ppm.

Hare and colleagues from NOAA's Northeast and Southeast Fisheries Science Centers, in collaboration with climate modelers from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., linked the Atlantic croaker population model with forecasts of minimum winter temperature from the 14 GCMs. These linked modeling efforts provided estimates of the abundance, distribution, and yield of the Atlantic croaker population under different climate change scenarios and different fishing rates.

With increasing minimum winter temperatures, the NOAA model predicted that Atlantic croaker abundance will increase. Higher temperatures result in higher recruitment, which leads to a larger spawning stock. At current levels of fishing mortality, all 14 GCM models and all climate scenarios predicted higher population abundances than observed since the early 1970's, when estimates of spawning stock were first developed. Even at higher fishing mortality rates, the models and climate scenarios predicted higher populations than observed in the past.

"Although our model does not include all potential environmental complexities, the recruitment hypothesis on which it is based is supported by both laboratory and field work, and is consistent with current fishery population models," Hare said. "The modeling work represents one
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Contact: Shelley Dawicki
Shelley.Dawicki@noaa.gov
508-495-2378
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Source:Eurekalert

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