Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Capturing uncertainty when modelling environmental drivers of fish populations, with an illustrative application to Pacific Cod in the eastern Bering Sea

Citation: André E. Punt, Michael G. Dalton, Grant D. Adams, Steven J. Barbeaux, Wei Cheng, Albert J. Hermann, Kirstin K. Holsman, Peter-John F. Hulson, Thomas P. Hurst, Alberto Rovellini, Capturing uncertainty when modelling environmental drivers of fish populations, with an illustrative application to Pacific Cod in the eastern Bering Sea, Fisheries Research, Volume 272, 2024, 106951, ISSN 0165-7836,
AEP was supported by NOAA through the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program Grant #NA15OAR4320063

Decision makers are increasingly requesting that environmental and climate drivers be included in stock assessments and subsequent projections that provide managers with advice on the consequences of applying harvest control rules. Another key direction in stock assessment science is to capture the full range of uncertainty (model, process, and estimation). However, multiple sources of uncertainty are rarely accounted for when conducting projections based on environmental and climate drivers. We describe a framework for conducting projections that allows for structural model uncertainty (in the structure of the population dynamics model on which the assessment is based, and the Earth System Models and emission scenarios used to drive future recruitment and growth), for process error in future recruitment, and for uncertainty in the parameter estimates of the population dynamics model. We then apply the framework to data for Pacific cod, Gadus macrocephalus, in the eastern Bering Sea, with projections based on a harvest control rule that attempts to maximize the difference between revenue and variable costs based on the current growth and recruitment dynamics of the stock. Increases in temperature are found to increase weight-at-age but reduce recruitment. However, the negative effects on recruitment outweigh the positive effects on weight-at-age. In many cases, the harvest control rules considered in this paper, particularly those based on the assumption of no future environmental effects on population parameters, fail to conserve the stock if the inferred catch limits are taken, which suggests that declines in biomass and catch will take place if the current harvest control rules continue to be used. The strategies that lead to reductions in catch and biomass also lead to much lower profits for the fishery, particularly over the long-term. However, basing future catches on the environmental scenario that leads to the poorest outcomes (GFDL ssp585) generally keeps the stock above the threshold of 20 % of unfished spawning biomass under most climate scenarios and also achieves long-term profits at or greater than those expected in the next ten years.

Scroll to Top


The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:


Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare


Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes


Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally


On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

Previous slide
Next slide


You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
       More for Taking Community Action