Fishing down Canadian aquatic food webs

Pauly, Daniel, Lourdes Palomares, M., Froese, Rainer, Sa-A, P., Vakily, M., Preikshot, D. and Wallace, S. (2001) Fishing down Canadian aquatic food webs Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 58 . pp. 51-62. DOI DOI:10.1139/cjfas-58-1-51.

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The mean trophic level (TL) of fish landed in fisheries on the east and west coasts of Canada is declining by 0.03–0.10·decade–1, similar to global trends. This finding is based on data from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other Canadian sources for the period 1873–1997. Significant rates of decline in mean TL were obtained even when key species — Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the east coast and Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) and Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) on the west coast — were omitted from the analysis. Fish taken in inland water fisheries did not exhibit a decline in mean TL.
Two models were developed, based on length and age, respectively, for correcting TL estimates of individual species for the effects of changes in body size due to changes in fishing mortality. Both produced corrections that were small relative to changes in mean TL that resulted from changes in species composition of the catch over time. Overall, these results suggest that the mean TL of fish landed can be used as an index of sustainability in ultispecies fisheries and that its reliability will depend on the quality of the data and length of the time series available for analysis.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: DOI:10.1139/cjfas-58-1-51
ISSN: 0706-652X
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016 09:31

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