Driscoll, J. and K.M.A. Chan (2023). “Assessing fisheries nutrient yields: The Northwest Atlantic, 1950–2014.” Ambio 52: 271–284. Doi: 10.1007/s13280-022-01795-z
Fisheries are important sources of nutrients for people, but fisheries science and management do not consider nutrient information. The result is that fisheries are conducted without knowledge of how exploited species portfolios produce nutrients, how these yields have changed over time, and how they may change in the future. Here, we develop approaches for nutrient-informed analysis, and illustrate their use by applying them to catches from northwest Atlantic fisheries from 1950 to 2014. Relative to catch weights, nutrient yields showed more change over time and greater degrees of concentration in fewer taxa. Species that were minor from a weight perspective were identified as key sources of specific nutrients. Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) emerge as a cornerstone of regional nutrient yields, with recent yields of some nutrients so disproportionately reliant upon herring as to indicate a potential lack of resilience. Insights such as these emphasize the need for nutrient informed approaches to fisheries assessment.