International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
ICES Marine Science Symposia - Volume 215 - 2002 - Part 22 of 70.pdf (4.33 MB)

Linking plankton and fish production throughout the history of ICES

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posted on 2023-07-05, 09:45 authored by Katherine Richardson
The importance of plankton for the productivity of the oceans had been realized in the latter part of the 19th century, just prior to the establishment of ICES in 1902. Thus, the study of plankton was closely linked to fisheries research in the early years of ICES and remained so until the 1950s. However, a major obstacle in relating plankton and fisheries production was the lack of methods that could be used to quantify primary production, and it was usually changes in bulk properties (pH. phosphate, and oxygen) that were used to estimate production. Ironically, at about the same time as quantitative methods of determining primary production were developed, the Beverton-Holt models refocused fisheries scientists on the task of quantifying fisheries yield in relation to recruitment. Thus, there was no longer a perceived "need" for an understanding of plankton and environmental variables to predict fisheries yields, and subsequent ICES activity was dominated by a further development of the Beverton-Holt approach. Most of the major developments in the understanding of holoplankton production after the 1950s occurred outside of ICES. In the most recent decades, an understanding of the types of plankton communities likely to give rise to a net increase in organic material in marine systems emerged. This "new" production is more likely than total primary production to be directly related to fisheries production. Thus, although they lacked sensitivity, the early attempts to measure primary production were actually more appropriate in terms of estimating a basis for fisheries production than the l4C method used in recent years. Our knowledge base may finally be sufficient to accomplish the original ICES goal of quantitatively relating plankton and total fisheries production.

Article from Marine Science Symposia Vol. 215 - 100 years of science under ICES. To access the remaining articles please click on the keyword "MSS Volume 215".



ICES Marine Science Symposia





Recommended citation

Richardson, K. 2002. Linking plankton and fish production throughout the history of ICES. ICES Marine Science Symposia, 215: 156-163.