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Title: Opposing trends in survival and recruitment slow the recovery of a historically overexploited fishery

Quantifying temporal variation in demographic rates is a central goal of population ecology. In this study, we analyzed a multidecadal age-structured time series of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) abundance in Lake Mývatn, Iceland, to infer the time-varying demographic response of the population to reduced harvest in the wake of the fishery’s collapse. Our analysis shows that while survival probability of adults increased following the alleviation of harvesting pressure, per capita recruitment consistently declined over most of the study period, until the final three years when it began to increase. The countervailing demographic trends resulted in only limited directional change in the total population size and population growth rate. Rather, the population dynamics were dominated by large interannual variability and a shift towards an older age distribution. Our results are indicative of a slow recovery of the population after its collapse, despite the rising number of adults following relaxed harvest. This underscores the potential for heterogeneous demographic responses to management efforts due to the complex ecological context in which such efforts take place.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Canadian Science Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1138 to 1144
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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