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Significant Decline in Abundance of Southern CA Coastal Fishes

Date Posted: 
July 19, 2013
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Since 1972, the abundance of coastal fishes in southern California has significantly declined, according to a new study published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. The authors used a novel approach to determining fish abundance by using records of fish caught in the cooling systems of five coastal power plants. They recorded an overall decline in abundance and biomass from 1972 to 2010, with the biomass trend interrupted in 2005 to 2006 by an influx of large-bodied species. The authors didn’t find any correlation with common oceanic circulations such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, but they did eliminate overfishing as a cause and also found sensitivity to changes in coastal seawater temperature and density.