Document Detail

The trophic fingerprint of marine fisheries.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21085178     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Biodiversity indicators provide a vital window on the state of the planet, guiding policy development and management. The most widely adopted marine indicator is mean trophic level (MTL) from catches, intended to detect shifts from high-trophic-level predators to low-trophic-level invertebrates and plankton-feeders. This indicator underpins reported trends in human impacts, declining when predators collapse ("fishing down marine food webs") and when low-trophic-level fisheries expand ("fishing through marine food webs"). The assumption is that catch MTL measures changes in ecosystem MTL and biodiversity. Here we combine model predictions with global assessments of MTL from catches, trawl surveys and fisheries stock assessments and find that catch MTL does not reliably predict changes in marine ecosystems. Instead, catch MTL trends often diverge from ecosystem MTL trends obtained from surveys and assessments. In contrast to previous findings of rapid declines in catch MTL, we observe recent increases in catch, survey and assessment MTL. However, catches from most trophic levels are rising, which can intensify fishery collapses even when MTL trends are stable or increasing. To detect fishing impacts on marine biodiversity, we recommend greater efforts to measure true abundance trends for marine species, especially those most vulnerable to fishing.
Trevor A Branch; Reg Watson; Elizabeth A Fulton; Simon Jennings; Carey R McGilliard; Grace T Pablico; Daniel Ricard; Sean R Tracey
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  468     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2010 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-18     Completed Date:  2011-01-06     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  431-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Box 355020, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-5020, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Aquatic Organisms / isolation & purification*,  metabolism*
Databases, Factual
Environmental Policy
Fishes* / metabolism
Food Chain
Human Activities
Invertebrates / metabolism
Models, Biological
Plankton / metabolism
Comment In:
Nature. 2010 Nov 18;468(7322):385-6   [PMID:  21085170 ]

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