The problem of formulating optimal-regulation strategies for commercial fisheries is complicated by the large interannual fluctuations often observed in the numbers and locations of various fish populations. Much of the interannual variance seen in particular cases can be attributed to the effects of environmental variability. The article reviews three examples of research showing that environmental variations can have important systematic effects on fish stocks. The three examples are all from North America and have been chosen to illustrate the biological significance of meteorological and oceanographic phenomena on a wide range of space and time scales.

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