Exploring the effects of fishing on fish assemblages using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves

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The possible effect of fishing on dominance patterns in the South African south coast demersal trawl fishery is assessed using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves for the period 1986-2003. The ABC method compares the ranked distribution of abundance among species against the similar distribution of biomass among species. The temporal pattern in the ABC curves and the W-statistic for two depth groups (<100 m and 101-200 m), and for the whole area combined, shows a gradient of change in the demersal assemblages from neutral (W ≥ 0) towards negative (W < 0), suggesting a disturbed or stressed condition. This corresponds to the onset of longline fishing effort in 1994, still ongoing in 2003, superimposed upon declining trawl effort in the same region. The ABC method shows promise as a guide for assessing the effects of fishing on fish communities, being based on established r- and k-selection theory. More modelling and comparative work is needed to establish acceptable ranges for the W-statistic, and their application in an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. © 2005 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Yemane, D., Field, J. G., & Leslie, R. W. (2005). Exploring the effects of fishing on fish assemblages using Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curves. In ICES Journal of Marine Science (Vol. 62, pp. 374–379). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.01.009

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