Half a century of high-latitude fisheries oceanography research on the "recruitment problem" in Northeast Arctic cod (Gadus morhua)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionICES Journal of Marine Science. 2023, 80 (5), 1179-1201. 10.1093/icesjms/fsad073
Predicting recruitment in a reliable fashion is a great challenge within operational fisheries advice. Here, we consulted the unique but undercommunicated IMR Cod Larva Project (1975–1990), its spin-offs, placed in an international era of advancements over the last 50 years to glance into the future. Few initiatives of this kind have applied such extensive research approaches, spanning from laboratory, mesocosm, tank, and field studies to process modelling. The “critical period” concept appeared misleading, covering months rather than days of the early life history stages (ELHS) of Northeast Arctic cod. Larval feeding success was strongly modified by improved encounter rates from wind-induced turbulence. In addition, the following maternal effect studies evidenced that the dynamics of stock demography prior to spawning should be upheld to promote recruitment success. Although we now have lower-trophic level models as well as ELHS individual-based models, such models are still insufficiently reflecting the needed spatiotemporal resolution. The same problem applies to climate/circulation models. Nevertheless, this long-lasting research has significantly improved the mechanistic understanding of ELHS dynamics but also of the more predictable adult reproductive parameters. Based on a “to-list list,” we suggest research avenues that should be pursued to further improve our ability predicting recruitment strength in marine fish stocks.