Efforts to understand the growth and decline of various commercial fish stocks in relation to their environment have a long history. For example, systematic studies of the northeast Atlantic started with the establishment of the International Commission for the Exploration of the Sea in 1902 [Mills, 1983]; a large part of this effort has been investigations of fisheries resources and surveys and descriptions of the physical environment (temperature, salinity, and circulation). Numerous other programs in “fishery oceanography” have had similar goals. A general premise in these studies has been that changes in abundance are related to biological and physical events that occur during the early life stages of fish.
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