Picture of UK Houses of Parliament

Leading national thinking on politics, government & public policy through Open Access research

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the School of Government & Public Policy, based within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Research here is 1st in Scotland for research intensity and spans a wide range of domains. The Department of Politics demonstrates expertise in understanding parties, elections and public opinion, with additional emphases on political economy, institutions and international relations. This international angle is reflected in the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) which conducts comparative research on public policy. Meanwhile, the Centre for Energy Policy provides independent expertise on energy, working across multidisciplinary groups to shape policy for a low carbon economy.

Explore the Open Access research of the School of Government & Public Policy. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Combination of genetics and spatial modelling highlights the sensitivity of cod (Gadus morhua) population diversity in the North Sea to distributions of fishing

Heath, Michael and Culling, Mark and Crozier, Walter and Fox, Clive and Gurney, William and Hutchinson, William and Nielsen, Einar and O'Sullivan, Martha and Preedy, Katharine and Righton, David and Speirs, Douglas and Taylor, Martin and Wright, Peter and Carvalho, Gary (2014) Combination of genetics and spatial modelling highlights the sensitivity of cod (Gadus morhua) population diversity in the North Sea to distributions of fishing. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71 (4). pp. 794-807. ISSN 1054-3139

[img] PDF
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (1MB)


    Conserving genetic diversity in animal populations is important for sustaining their ability to respond to environmental change. However, the ‘between-population’ component of genetic diversity (biocomplexity) is threatened in many exploited populations, particularly marine fish, where harvest management regions may be larger than the spatial extent of genetically distinct sub-populations. Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data we delineated the geographic limits of three population units of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in northwest European waters. Two of the populations co-habit the North Sea, and trawl survey data showed differing trends in their abundances. We developed a spatial model of these units to simulate population dynamics under spatial patterns of harvesting, Competition between units during the pelagic juvenile stages in the model led to suppression of the more localised northern North Sea (Viking) unit by the more widespread (Dogger) unit, and its premature extinction under some spatial patterns of fishing. Fishery catch limits for cod are set at the scale of the whole North Sea without regard to such sub-population dynamics. Our model offers a method to quantify adjustments to regional fishing mortality rates to strike a balance between maximising sustainable yield and conserving vulnerable populations.