In the first of two companion papers, a 54-yr time series for the oyster population in the New Jersey waters of Delaware Bay was analyzed to develop biological relationships necessary to evaluate maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points and to consider how multiple stable points affect reference point-based management. The time series encompassed two regime shifts, one circa 1970 that ushered in a 15-yr period of high abundance, and a second in 1985 that ushered in a 20-yr period of low abundance. The intervening and succeeding periods have the attributes of alternate stable states. The biological relationships between abundance, recruitment, and mortality were unusual in four ways. First, the broodstock-recruitment relationship at low abundance may have been driven more by the provision of settlement sites for larvae by the adults than by fecundity. Second, the natural mortality rate was temporally unstable and bore a nonlinear relationship to abundance. Third, combined high abundance and low mortality, though likely requiring favorable environmental conditions, seemed also to be a self-reinforcing phenomenon. As a consequence, the abundance-mortality relationship exhibited both compensatory and depensatory components. Fourth, the geographic distribution of the stock was intertwined with abundance and mortality, such that interrelationships were functions both of spatial organization and inherent population processes.
Original Publication Citation
Powell, E.N., Klinck, J.M., Ashton-Alcox, K.A., & Kraeuter, J.N. (2009). Multiple stable reference points in oyster populations: Biological relationships for the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in Delaware Bay. Fishery Bulletin, 107(2), 109-132.
Powell, Eric N.; Klinck, John M.; Ashton-Alcox, Kathryn A.; and Kraeuter, John N., "Multiple Stable Reference Points in Oyster Populations: Biological Relationships for the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in Delaware Bay" (2009). CCPO Publications. 5.