Effects of Fishing on the Ecosystem Structure of Coral Reefs

Effects of Fishing on the Ecosystem Structure of Coral Reefs Abstract: Overfishing is considered one of the three most significant threats to coral reef ecosystems. Exponentially increasing human populations in the tropics have placed enormous demands upon reefs as a food source. At high intensities, termed ecosystem or Malthusian overfishing, fishing causes major direct and indirect effects on the community structure of fishes and other organisms. It reduces species diversity and leads to local extinctions not only of target species but also of other species not fished directly. Conceivably it could also lead to global extinctions. Loss of keystone species, such as predators of echinoderms, through fishing, can lead to major effects on reef processes, such as accretion of calcium carbonate. Ultimately, sustained heavy fishing may lead to loss of entire functional groups of species, resulting in impairment of the potentially important ecosystem functions provided by those groups. Overfishing has been shown to interact with other agents of disturbance to reduce the ability of reefs to recover from natural occurrences such as hurricanes. Effective management of fishing will require a deeper understanding of the effects of exploitation than we now possess. Research initiatives are underway to examine the responses of fish populations to fishing, generally responses to protection from fishing. There is, however, an urgent need to look beyond fish communities and to consider the entire reef ecosystem. Studies that integrate population and community biology with ecosystem processes will provide a much better understanding of the effects of biodiversity loss on reef function and will improve our ability to manage these complex systems. Efecto de la pesca sobre la estructura ecosistémica de los arrecifes de coral http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

Effects of Fishing on the Ecosystem Structure of Coral Reefs

Conservation Biology, Volume 9 (5) – Oct 1, 1995

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1995 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
DOI
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1995.9051332.x-i1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: Overfishing is considered one of the three most significant threats to coral reef ecosystems. Exponentially increasing human populations in the tropics have placed enormous demands upon reefs as a food source. At high intensities, termed ecosystem or Malthusian overfishing, fishing causes major direct and indirect effects on the community structure of fishes and other organisms. It reduces species diversity and leads to local extinctions not only of target species but also of other species not fished directly. Conceivably it could also lead to global extinctions. Loss of keystone species, such as predators of echinoderms, through fishing, can lead to major effects on reef processes, such as accretion of calcium carbonate. Ultimately, sustained heavy fishing may lead to loss of entire functional groups of species, resulting in impairment of the potentially important ecosystem functions provided by those groups. Overfishing has been shown to interact with other agents of disturbance to reduce the ability of reefs to recover from natural occurrences such as hurricanes. Effective management of fishing will require a deeper understanding of the effects of exploitation than we now possess. Research initiatives are underway to examine the responses of fish populations to fishing, generally responses to protection from fishing. There is, however, an urgent need to look beyond fish communities and to consider the entire reef ecosystem. Studies that integrate population and community biology with ecosystem processes will provide a much better understanding of the effects of biodiversity loss on reef function and will improve our ability to manage these complex systems. Efecto de la pesca sobre la estructura ecosistémica de los arrecifes de coral

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Oct 1, 1995

References

  • Mass mortality of Diadema antillarum in Caribbean: what have we learned?
    Lessios, Lessios
  • Causes and consequences of sea urchin abundance and diversity in Kenyan coral reef lagoons
    McClanahan, McClanahan; Shafir, Shafir
  • Dietary shifts in the queen triggerfish, Balistes vetula , in the absence of its primary food item, Diadema antillarum
    Reinthal, Reinthal; Kensley, Kensley; Lewis, Lewis
  • Rapid build up of fish biomass in a Caribbean marine reserve
    Roberts, Roberts

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