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Climate-induced habitat suitability changes intensify fishing impacts on the life history of large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea)
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  • Ya Wang,
  • Xi Jie Zhou,
  • Bin Xie,
  • Jiajie Chen,
  • Lingfeng Huang
Ya Wang
Xiamen University
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Xi Jie Zhou
Xiamen University
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Bin Xie
Xiamen University
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Jiajie Chen
Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences East China Sea Fishery Research Institute
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Lingfeng Huang
Xiamen University
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Abstract

Intense fishing pressure and climate change are major threats to fish populations and coastal fisheries. Larimichthys crocea (large yellow croaker) is a long-lived fish, which performs seasonal migrations from its spawning and nursery grounds along the coast of the East China Sea (ECS) to overwintering grounds offshore. This study used length-based analysis and habitat suitability index (HSI) model to evaluate current life-history parameters and overwintering habitat suitability of L. crocea, respectively. We compared recent (2019) and historical (1971-1982) life-history parameters and overwintering HSI to analyze the fishing pressure and climate change effects on the overall population and overwintering phase of L. crocea. The length-based analysis indicated serious overfishing of L. crocea, characterized by reduced catch yield, size truncation, constrained distribution, and advanced maturation causing a recruitment bottleneck. The overwintering HSI modeling results indicated that climate change has led to decreased sea surface temperature during L. crocea overwintering phase over the last half-century, which in turn led to area decrease and an offshore-oriented shifting of optimal overwintering habitat of L. crocea. The fishing-caused size truncation may have constrained the migratory ability and distribution of L. crocea subsequently leading to the mismatch of the optimal overwintering habitat against climate change background, namely habitat bottleneck. Hence, while heavily fishing was the major cause of L. crocea collapse, climate-induced overwintering habitat suitability may have intensified the fishery collapse of L. crocea population. It is important for management to take both overfishing and climate change issues into consideration when developing stock enhancement activities and policy regulations, particularly for migratory long-lived fish that share a similar life history to L. crocea. Combined with China’s current restocking and stock enhancement initiatives, we propose recommendations for future restocking of L. crocea in China.
16 May 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
16 May 2022Assigned to Editor
16 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
17 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Aug 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Accept