Journal Article

Exploring the effects of fishing on fish assemblages using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves

Dawit Yemane, John G. Field and Rob W. Leslie

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 374-379
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.01.009
Exploring the effects of fishing on fish assemblages using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves

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The possible effect of fishing on dominance patterns in the South African south coast demersal trawl fishery is assessed using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves for the period 1986–2003. The ABC method compares the ranked distribution of abundance among species against the similar distribution of biomass among species. The temporal pattern in the ABC curves and the W-statistic for two depth groups (<100 m and 101–200 m), and for the whole area combined, shows a gradient of change in the demersal assemblages from neutral (W ≥ 0) towards negative (W < 0), suggesting a disturbed or stressed condition. This corresponds to the onset of longline fishing effort in 1994, still ongoing in 2003, superimposed upon declining trawl effort in the same region. The ABC method shows promise as a guide for assessing the effects of fishing on fish communities, being based on established r- and k-selection theory. More modelling and comparative work is needed to establish acceptable ranges for the W-statistic, and their application in an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

Keywords: ABC curves; effects of fishing; fish assemblages; r- and k-selection

Journal Article.  2826 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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