An ecosystem approach for the assessment of fisheries impacts on marine top predators: the Bay of Biscay case study

Type Article
Date 2012-07
Language English
Author(s) Lassalle Geraldine1, 8, Gascuel Didier2, Le Loch Francois3, Lobry Jeremy4, Pierce Graham John5, Ridoux Vincent1, 6, Santos Maria Begona7, Spitz Jerome1, Niquil Nathalie1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ La Rochelle, CNRS, Littoral Environm & Soc, UMR 7266, F-17042 La Rochelle, France.
2 : Univ Europeenne Bretagne, UMR Ecol & Sante Eosyst, F-35042 Rennes, France.
3 : Univ Montpellier 2, IRD IFREMER, IRD, UMR Ecosyt Marins Exploite, F-34203 Sete, France.
4 : Irstea,UR EPBX, Res Inst Sci & Technol Environm & Agr, F-33612 Cestas, France.
5 : Univ Aberdeen, Sch Biol Sci, Aberdeen AB25 2TZ, Scotland.
6 : Univ La Rochelle, CNRS, Ctr Rech Mammiferes Marins, UMS 3419, F-17071 La Rochelle, France.
7 : Inst Espanol Oceanog, Ctr Oceanog Vigo, Vigo 36200, Spain.
8 : IFREMER, Nantes, France
Source Ices Journal Of Marine Science (1054-3139) (Oxford Univ Press), 2012-07 , Vol. 69 , N. 6 , P. 925-938
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fss049
WOS© Times Cited 52
Keyword(s) Ecopath, ecosystem modelling, EcoTroph, fisheries impacts, marine mammals, trophic level
Abstract A number of marine mammal populations is currently threatened by their interactions with fisheries. The present study aimed to provide insights into the severity of potential impacts of operational and biological interactions between top predators and fisheries, in the Bay of Biscay region. Our approach was to modify an Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) model describing the overall structure and function of the ecosystem by including landings and discards of exploited stocks and estimations of the bycatch of non-target compartments. Second, a set of ecological indices and a trophic level (TL)-based model (EcoTroph, ET) were derived from the EwE model. ET was used to simulate the effects of increasing fishing pressure on the ecosystem and, more particularly, on top predators. The Bay of Biscay was demonstrated to be not far from overexploitation at the current fishing rate, this phenomenon being particularly noticeable for the highest TLs. Within the toothed cetacean community, bottlenose dolphins appeared the most sensitive to resource depletion, whereas common dolphins and harbour porpoises were most impacted by their incidental captures in fishing gears. This study provides a methodological framework to assess the impacts of fisheries on ecosystems for which EwE, or other ecosystem models, already exist.
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Lassalle Geraldine, Gascuel Didier, Le Loch Francois, Lobry Jeremy, Pierce Graham John, Ridoux Vincent, Santos Maria Begona, Spitz Jerome, Niquil Nathalie (2012). An ecosystem approach for the assessment of fisheries impacts on marine top predators: the Bay of Biscay case study. Ices Journal Of Marine Science, 69(6), 925-938. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :