Modelling the effects of fishing on the biomass of the world's oceans from 1950 to 2006

Abstract : Marine fisheries have endured for centuries but the last 50 yr have seen a drastic increase in their reach and intensity. We generated global estimates of biomass for marine ecosystems and evaluated the effects that fisheries have had on ocean biomass since the 1950s. A simple and versatile ecosystem model was used to represent ecosystems as a function of energy fluxes through trophic levels (TLs). Using primary production, sea surface temperature, transfer efficiency, fisheries catch and TL of species, the model was applied on a half-degree spatial grid covering all oceans. Estimates of biomass by TLs were derived for marine ecosystems in an unexploited state, as well as for all decades since the 1950s. Trends in the decline of marine biomass from the unexploited state were analyzed with a special emphasis on predator species as they are highly vulnerable to overexploitation. This study highlights 3 main trends in the global effects of fishing: (1) predators are more affected than organisms at lower TLs
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Laura Tremblay-Boyer, Didier Gascuel, Reg Watson, Villy Christensen, Daniel Pauly. Modelling the effects of fishing on the biomass of the world's oceans from 1950 to 2006. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter Research, 2011, 442, pp.169-185. ⟨10.3354/meps09375⟩. ⟨hal-00808031⟩

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