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  1. Small pelagic fish support some of the largest fisheries globally, yet there is an ongoing debate about the magnitude of the impacts of environmental processes and fishing activities on target species. We use a nonparametric, nonlinear approach to quantify these effects on the Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the Gulf of California. We show that the effect of fishing pressure and environmental variability are comparable. Furthermore, when predicting total catches, the best models account for both drivers. By using empirical dynamic programming with average environmental conditions, we calculated optimal policies to ensure long-term sustainable fisheries. The first policy, the equilibriummore »maximum sustainable yield, suggests that the fishery could sustain an annual catch of ∼2.16 × 10 5 tonnes. The second policy with dynamic optimal effort, reveals that the effort from 2 to 4 years ago impacts the current maximum sustainable effort. Consecutive years of high effort require a reduction to let the stock recover. Our work highlights a new framework that embraces the complex processes that drive fisheries population dynamics yet produces simple and robust advice to ensure long-term sustainable fisheries.« less
  2. Griffith, Gary (Ed.)
    Abstract Complex nonlinear dynamics are ubiquitous in marine ecology. Empirical dynamic modelling can be used to infer ecosystem dynamics and species interactions while making minimal assumptions. Although there is growing enthusiasm for applying these methods, the background required to understand them is not typically part of contemporary marine ecology curricula, leading to numerous questions and potential misunderstanding. In this study, we provide a brief overview of empirical dynamic modelling, followed by answers to the ten most frequently asked questions about nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear forecasting.