Effect of rainfall as a component of climate change on estuarine fish production in Queensland, Australia

Meynecke, Jan-Olaf, Lee, Shing Yip, Duke, Norman, and Warnken, Jan (2006) Effect of rainfall as a component of climate change on estuarine fish production in Queensland, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 69 (3-4). pp. 491-504.

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The speculation that climate change may impact on sustainable fish production suggests a need to understand how these effects influence fish catch on a broad scale. With a gross annual value of A$ 2.2 billion, the fishing industry is a significant primary industry in Australia. Many commercially important fish species use estuarine habitats such as mangroves, tidal flats and seagrass beds as nurseries or breeding grounds and have lifecycles correlated to rainfall and temperature patterns. Correlation of catches of mullet (e.g. Mugil cephalus) and barramundi (Lates calcarifer) with rainfall suggests that fisheries may be sensitive to effects of climate change. This work reviews key commercial fish and crustacean species and their link to estuaries and climate parameters. A conceptual model demonstrates ecological and biophysical links of estuarine habitats that influences capture fisheries production. The difficulty involved in explaining the effect of climate change on fisheries arising from the lack of ecological knowledge may be overcome by relating climate parameters with long-term fish catch data. Catch per unit effort (CPUE), rainfall, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and catch time series for specific combinations of climate seasons and regions have been explored and surplus production models applied to Queensland's commercial fish catch data with the program CLIMPROD. Results indicate that up to 30% of Queensland's total fish catch and up to 80% of the barramundi catch variation for specific regions can be explained by rainfall often with a lagged response to rainfall events. Our approach allows an evaluation of the economic consequences of climate parameters on estuarine fisheries, thus highlighting the need to develop forecast models and manage estuaries for future climate change impact by adjusting the quota for climate change sensitive species. Different modelling approaches are discussed with respect to their forecast ability.

Item ID: 34941
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: mangroves; habitat; fauna; estuarine fish catch; climate change; conceptual model; modelling; Australia; Pacific; IWP
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 02:34
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
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