FSI Metrics

The Fish Sustainability Index evaluates provincial fish status by assessing numerous metrics based on:

  • Population integrity
  • Productive potential of the habitat
  • Threats and their mitigation

For each FSI metric, the quality, quantity and timeliness of the data being used to perform assessments is also evaluated.

Grouping the Metrics

Group Category Metrics
Population Integrity Population Density Historical Adult Density
Current Adult Density
Immature Density
Genetic Integrity Degree of Hybridization
Genetic Similarity to Original Stock
Genetic Distinction
Ecological Integrity Changes to Predators
Changes to Prey
Change to Competitors
Productive Potential - Geographic Extent
Natural Limitations to Productivity
Anthropogenic Limitations to Productivity
Threat Mitigation - Habitat Protection Need
Overharvest Protection Need
Habitat Protection Availability
Overharvest Protection Availability
Exotic Species Threat

Population Integrity

Metrics in this group examine how population density, the genetic integrity, and the composition of the fish community influence status of the fish population. Specifically we assess:

  • Population Density

    Density metrics evaluate the historic abundance of the undisturbed fish population, and the current abundance of immature and adult fish in a population. A population with few fish would be at higher risk of disappearing in the future.

    • Historical Adult Density - the relative abundance of adult fish in a population when it was undisturbed by humans.
    • Current Adult Density - the current relative abundance of adult fish in a population compared to an undisturbed population.
    • Current Immature Density - the current relative abundance of immature fish in a population compared to an undisturbed population.
  • Genetic Integrity

    These metrics assess the genetic composition of a fish population. We would expect a population with more hybrids, whose stock has been greatly altered, and that is highly unique to be less resilient and at a higher risk of being lost in the future.

    • Degree of Hybridization - the proportion of a population that has hybridized (i.e. bred) with non-native or exotic stocks.
    • Genetic Similarity to Original Stock - how altered the original fish population has become through human activities e.g. stocking, overharvest, changes to water quality
    • Genetic Distinction - describes the number and distribution of genetically distinct or unique populations.
  • Ecological Integrity

    These metrics address how changes within a fish community can impact a focal fish species. These metrics capture biologists’ concerns that changes to the composition and abundance of species in fish communities may negatively impact a single fish species.

    • Changes to Predators - addresses whether changes in predators threatens the sustainability of the focal fish species.
    • Changes to Prey - addresses whether changes in prey threatens the sustainability of the focal fish species.
    • Changes to Competitors - addresses whether changes in competitor threatens the sustainability of the focal fish species.

Productive Potential

This group of metrics assesses how the size and productivity of a fish population’s habitat may protect or threaten it with respect to human disturbances. Smaller populations in less productive habitat are at higher risk.

  • Geographic extent - a measure of the size of the habitat inhabited by a fish population.
  • Natural Limitations to Productivity - assess factors that may naturally impact the productivity of the fish habitat.
  • Anthropogenic Limitations to Productivity - assess human-caused factors that may impact the productivity of the fish habitat.

Threat Mitigation

This group of metrics assess threats faced by a fish population due to fishing pressure and habitat alterations, and the protection currently available. Additionally, the threat of exotic species is assessed.

  • Habitat Protection Need - the amount of habitat protection that is needed based on current threats.
  • Overharvest Protection Need - the amount of overharvest protection that is needed based on current fishing effort.
  • Habitat Protection Availability - a measure of existing fish habitat protection.
  • Overharvest Protection Availability - the type of fishing regulations currently in place.
  • Exotic Species Threat - the risk associated with the presence of exotic species

 

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Posted: Oct 9, 2014