Oil-spill fishery impact assessment model: Application to selected Georges Bank fish species

Document Type


Date of Original Version



An oil-spill fishery impact assessment model composed of an oil-spill fates model, a shelf hydrodynamics model, an ichthyoplankton transport and fate model, and a fishery population model originally developed by Reed & Spaulding, has been improved and applied to the Georges Bank-Gulf of Maine region to assess the probable impact of oil spills on several key fisheries. The model addresses direct impacts of oil on the commercial fishery through hydrocarbon-induced egg and larval mortality. This early life stage hydrocarbon-induced mortality is estimated by assuming a toxicity threshold approach and by mapping the spatial/temporal interaction between the subsurface oil concentrations caused by the spill and the developing eggs and larvae. Model output is given in terms of differential catch, with a comparison made of hydrocarbon-impacted fisheries. Simulations of tanker and blowout spills at two separate locations for each season of the year in the Outer Continental Shelf lease areas have been completed for Atlantic herring, haddock, and Atlantic cod. Results to date suggest a complex interaction among spill location and timing, the spatial and temporal spawning distribution of the species, and the hydrodynamics of the area. The largest impacts occur for spring and winter spills. © 1983.

Publication Title

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science