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Local perspectives on regional challenges: jellyfish proliferation and fish stock management along the Israeli Mediterranean coast

May 28, 2014

The composition and abundance of marine biota in Israeli marine ecosystems are affected by natural and anthropogenic pressures, including blooms of non-indigenous jellyfish and overfishing. While overfishing is itself a major stressor of fish stocks, it appears that jellyfish may be outcompeting fish for scarce planktonic food resources. Beyond this direct impact on fisheries, jellyfish–ecosystem interactions are also important because of the disturbance they cause to multiple users  of marine and coastal resources. This paper documents the concurrent changes in the composition of marine biotic communities, including jellyfish proliferation and dwindling stocks of endemic, commercially valuable fish and the rising rate of bottom trawling in Israeli fisheries. The capacity to deal directly with jellyfish is limited by lack of knowledge about their ecology. Therefore, we suggest that bolstering fish stocks and increasing their competitive advantage in the food web may be instrumental in limiting jellyfish blooms. Coordination of fishing and conservation policies is recommended, as are modifications to marine waste management and deployment of submerged artificial substrates.

Angel DL, Edelist D, Freeman S, in press: Local perspectives on regional challenges: jellyfish proliferation and fish stock management along the Israeli Mediterranean coast, Regional Environmental Change, doi:10.1007/s10113-014-0613-0. Article (subscription required).

 

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