Nutrient enrichment and fisheries exploitation: interactive effects on estuarine living resources and their management

Author: Breitburg, D.L.; Craig, J.K.; Fulford, R.S.; Rose, K.A.; Boynton, W.R.; Brady, D.C.; Ciotti, B.J.; Diaz, R.J.; Friedland, K.D.; Hagy, J.D.; Hart, D.R.; Hines, A.H.; Houde, E.D.; Kolesar, S.E.; Nixon, S.W.; Rice, J.A.; Secor, D.H.; Targett, T.E.

Description: Both fisheries exploitation and increased nutrient loadings strongly affect fish and shellfish abundance and production in estuaries. These stressors do not act independently; instead, they jointly influence food webs, and each affects the sensitivity of species and ecosystems to the other. Nutrient enrichment and the habitat degradation it sometimes causes can affect sustainable yields of fisheries, and fisheries exploitation can affect the ability of estuarine systems to process nutrients. The total biomass of fisheries landings in estuaries and semi-enclosed seas tends to increase with nitrogen loadings in spite of hypoxia, but hypoxia and other negative effects of nutrient over-enrichment cause declines in individual species and in parts of systems most severely affected. More thoroughly integrated management of nutrients and fisheries will permit more effective management responses to systems affected by both stressors, including the application of fisheries regulations to rebuild stocks negatively affected by eutrophication. Reducing fishing mortality may lead to the recovery of depressed populations even when eutrophication contributes to population declines if actions are taken while the population retains sufficient reproductive potential. New advances in modeling, statistics, and technology promise to provide the information needed to improve the understanding and management of systems subject to both nutrient enrichment and fisheries exploitation.

Subject headings: Eutrophication; Hypoxia; Fisheries; Estuary; Management

Publication year: 2009

Journal or book title: Hydrobiologia

Volume: 629

Issue: 1

Pages: 31-47

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2139