A sustainable future necessitates understanding the relationship of marine resources to environmental variability and fisheries pressure to support key policy and management decisions. In this context, fisheries stock assessments are becoming increasingly more common worldwide, but often fail to maintain stock with a sustainable trajectory. However, studies contended that synoptic understanding of physiological processes that underpin the variation in individuals’ fitness that in turn drives population and ecosystem dynamics, the feedback between individual and population levels offers unique opportunities to improve our understanding of exploited populations’ responses to changes in their environment and significantly improve marine resources management.
This research project will unveil the value of considering ecophysiological indicators to improve fish stock monitoring and management. To reach a better connection between fisheries sciences and ecophysiology we will (i) apply ecophysiological methods to identify key aspects of individuals’ health status and their links with individuals’ characteristics (growth and body condition) and the environment, and (ii) complement indicators usually used at the stock level to place fisheries management in an appropriate ecosystem context by considering physiological aspects. To this end, this project will focus on two small pelagic fish species (anchovy and sardine) which are keystone species for marine food web structures and sustain major French and Spanish fisheries in the Bay of Biscay.