Modeling the spatial distribution of larval fish abundance provides essential information for management

Meri Kallasvuo, Jarno Vanhatalo, Lari Veneranta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Productive fisheries are strongly linked to the ecological state of the essential habitats. In this study, we developed a methodology to assess the most important reproduction habitats of fish by using larval survey data and Bayesian species distribution models that predict the spatial distribution and abundance of fish larvae. Our case study with four commercially and ecologically important fish species in the coastal zone of the northern Baltic Sea demonstrated that the production of fish stocks can be concentrated to an extremely limited area compared to the entire suitable production area. The area suitable for larval production varied from 3.7% to 99.8% between species, but the smallest area responsible for 80% of the cumulative larval production was two to five times more limited, varying from 1.4% to 52.9% between species. Hence, instead of the traditional approach of modeling only habitat suitability for fish production, marine spatial planning and management should take into account the areal production potential. Moreover, the developed methodology enables linking of the total production potential across the whole distribution area to fisheries stock assessment and management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)636-649
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 112 Statistics and probability
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

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