DOI: 10.1111/fog.12664 ISSN: 1054-6006

An updated model of potential habitat for northern stock Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax) and its use for attributing survey observations and fishery landings

Juan P. Zwolinski, David A. Demer
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography


Three years after the 2015 collapse of the northern stock of Pacific Sardine that is predominantly located off the west coast of the United States, acoustic‐trawl (A‐T) surveys documented an increase in the presence and persistence of the southern stock off coastal Southern California. Then in 2020, the biomass of Sardine that was landed in Mexico and attributed to the northern stock exceeded the estimated biomass for the entire northern stock. To investigate if the landings were incorrectly classified, we revisit a model of northern‐stock potential habitat and the associated range of sea‐surface temperature (SST) used to apportion the A‐T survey data and monthly fishery landings to the two stocks, respectively. We update the probabilistic model of potential habitat with data on sardine‐egg presence and absence and concomitant satellite‐sensed SST and chlorophyll‐a concentration through 2019 and apply the new model to more accurately attribute the A‐T observations and fishery landings data to the northern or southern stock. The addition of recent data, with increased coverage in SSTs between 15°C and 17°C, improves the model accuracy and spatial precision of the stock attribution. The attribution accuracy is critically dependent on the temporal and spatial coincidence of the environmental and survey or landings data and should be corroborated with other characteristics indicative of biological isolation such as spatial separation, distinct spawning areas and seasons, and uncorrelated demographics.

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