Task 1.1: Estimation of changes in stock reproductive potential

The task will examine compensatory and depensatory mechanisms in the biology of the target species (i.e., density-dependent changes in growth rates, age/size at first maturity, fecundity, egg quality) to evaluate whether the ability of a stock to sustain exploitation and recover from over-exploitation is affected by changes in the biology of the fish species and the ecosystem.  The reproductive potential will be modelled as a function of stock size, demography and environmental regime influencing the quantity and quality of eggs and larvae produced to examine stock-specific sustainability and potential recovery as influenced by changes in stock reproductive potential resulting from changes in population size, demography and prevailing environmental conditions. Operational models integrating key factors and processes will be established to test the implications of species-specific biological changes affecting the reproductive potential as observed in stocks during periods of depletion and recovery and thus resolve the robustness of the stock to exploitation or the ability to recover from over exploitation in relation to the state of the population and the ecosystem. The specific areas of investigation are:

  1. Growth, maturation and energy allocation;
  2. Fecundity and realised egg production;
  3. Egg quality and viability of offspring;
  4. Models for understanding and predicting stock reproductive potential.