On the relation between schools, clusters of schools and abundance in pelagic fish stocks
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AuthorsPetitgas, P. (Pierre); Reid, D.G. (David G.); Carrera, P. (Pablo); Iglesias, M. (Magdalena); Georgakarakos, S. (Stratis); Liorzou, B. (Bernard); Massé, J. (Jacques)
PCA with passive variables
Small pelagic fish are known to aggregate into schools and clusters of schools. It is commonly assumed that the number of such schools and clusters, as well as their size and densities, will vary with the stock abundance. We have carried out a PCA based meta-analysis, using series of acoustic survey data from five different locations in Europe to examine this assumption. The study concluded that there was no discernible relationship between stock abundance and the number of schools seen, or on the clustering of those schools. The study also showed that the number and structure of the school clusters was strongly correlated with the number of schools seen. An increased number of schools in an area tended to be linked with denser clusters (more schools per kilometre) and a higher occupation of the survey area by those clusters. There was also a weaker tendency to find more clusters. It is not clear whether these relationships and the absence of a link to abundance are due to density ...