Article

Status of Kuwait's fishery resources: Assessment and perspective

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Abstract

For the first time, the production of fisheries in Kuwait was assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively by comparing the production of the late 1980s and the mid-2000s using official data. The results indicate that total fisheries production has declined over time, with local production (artisanal and industrial) having decreased by approximately 25%, while imports increased by 25%, representing 62% of the total fisheries production over time. Current consumer preferences have led to increased demand of fish species formerly having inferior commercial importance. The verified per capita fish consumption in 2010 was 22.32 kg yr−1 suggesting the existence of an unrecorded supplementary supply of fish. Predictions show a dramatic decrease in fishery production by 2025, with a low supply of only 0.5 kg per individual per annum. The results have practical implications for legislators’ management strategies for the sustainability of local fishery stocks.

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... Arabian Gulf fisheries for fish and Shrimp are currently harvested well beyond their sustainable levels (Grandcourt et al., 2005), and this is particularly so for Kuwait (Al-Sabbagh and Dashti, 2009;Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). Apart from over fishing, inshore nursery habitat loss of over 20 km of coast in Kuwait alone, pollution, loss of riverine input via the Shatt Al-Arab and climate change have resulted in a 53% decline in Shrimp and 40% decline in Fin fish catches between 1985 and 2013 (Al-Husaini et al., 2015). ...
... Apart from over fishing, inshore nursery habitat loss of over 20 km of coast in Kuwait alone, pollution, loss of riverine input via the Shatt Al-Arab and climate change have resulted in a 53% decline in Shrimp and 40% decline in Fin fish catches between 1985 and 2013 (Al-Husaini et al., 2015). The situation is so serious that Al- Zaidan et al. (2013) predict that fish consumption in Kuwait (22.32 kg yr ¡1 per capita in 2010) may drop to an availability of only 0.5 kg per capita by 2025. ...
... Action to reverse the decline in Gulf fisheries (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Abdulrazzak et al., 2015;Al-Husaini et al., 2015) and even the longterm survival of the Arabian Gulf ecosystem (Burt 2014;Sheppard 2015) is now urgently required. Some pressures, such as the reduction in flow rates of the Euphrates which impacts anadromous Tenualosa illisha, Pampus argenteus and Otolithes ruber, are difficult to resolve in the short term, as is the impact of climate change on coral reefs (Sheppard and Loughland, 2002). ...
Article
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Recent reports demonstrate that Arabian Gulf Shellfish and Finfish fisheries are in serious decline, in particular those of Kuwait. This decline is attributed to over fishing, pollution, loss of nursery ground, reduction in riverine input via the Shatt Al-Arab, and climate change. When completed in 2018 Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City, Kuwait, will contain circa 200 km of waterways providing over 50% of extra coast line for Kuwait. Seine netting and gargoor traps have been deployed annually, since the first phase (A1) of this coastal township was opened to the sea in 2004, to monitor shell and fin fish populations within the waterways. Present work describes the diversity and abundance of commercial (edible and potential ornamental value) species now inhabiting the waterways, which comprise over 60% of the species marketed in Kuwait. Analysis of catch data reveals that the waterways act as spawning, nursery and feeding habitats for important species such as Epinephelus coioides (Orange-spotted Grouper), Penaeus semisulcatus (Banana Shrimp) and Portunus segnis (Blue Swimming Crab). As no commercial fishing is allowed, the Sea City waterways act as a significant conservation area for Kuwait´s fish stocks.
... Kuwait's marine and coastal environment provides multiple social and economic goods and services. In addition to supporting the conservation of regionally and globally important biodiversity, Kuwait's marine environment supports productive fin-fish and shell-fish fisheries for human consumption and the culturally important pearl oyster, Pinctada radiate (Al-Husaini et al., 2015;Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). The coastline and offshore areas have extensive recreational and amenity value . ...
... This includes coastal development that has changed the physical structure of the marine environment (Al-Abdulghani et al., 2013) and industrial and petrochemical discharges that changed the chemical nature of the marine environment . Fishing has led to declines in species abundance and a number of commercially important fish stocks have significantly reduced (Al-Husaini et al., 2015;Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). Unregulated sewage inputs have led recreational beaches in Kuwait to regularly fail international water quality standards (Lyons et al., 2015b;Saeed et al., 2015) and the associated uncontrolled inputs of nutrients have been implicated in a number fish kill events (Devlin et al., 2015b;Gilbert et al., 2002;Heil et al., 2001). ...
... Limited fisheries data collection over long term means that the assessment is only assigned moderate confidence. Assessments were based on declining catches reported in landings data over the last 20 years (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Husaini et al., 2015). Officially reported landings peaked at 10,788t in 1988, but dropped to 5,503t in 2016, and official landings have been consistently between 4000 and 6,000t since 2011 (FAO, 2018;Abdulrazzak and Pauly, 2013). ...
Article
This paper presents an approach for preparing a comprehensive national marine ecosystem assessment and its application to the marine and coastal areas of the State of Kuwait. The approach is based on a set of principles to enable diverse data sources, of differing data quality and salience, to be combined into a single coordinated national assessment of marine ecosystem status to support the implementation of ecosystem-based management. The approach enables state assessments for multiple components of the marine ecosystem to be undertaken in a coordinated manner, using differing methods varying from quantitative to qualitative assessments depending on data and indicator availability. The marine ecosystem assessment is structured according to 6 major themes: i) Biodiversity, ii) Commercial Fisheries, iii) Food and Water Quality for Human Health, iv) Environmental Pollution, v) Eutrophication and Harmful Algal Blooms, and vi) Coastal Process and Oceanography. Comprehensive ecosystem assessments are an essential part of implementing the ecosystem approach, however detailed data directly related to clear, specified numerical management targets covering all aspects of a marine ecosystem are rarely available. The development of a State of the Marine Environment Report (SOMER) for Kuwait demonstrates that a coordinated comprehensive ecosystem assessment can be conducted using disparate data, and in relation to partially specified regulatory management objectives. The Kuwait SOMER highlighted the issues of coastal pollution, particularly sewage, for human health and the environment. It shows that the rapid urbanization of Kuwait has led to significant changes in the ecology, with clear impacts on coral reef health, the availability of nesting locations for turtles and habitats for migratory birds. Long-term changes in nutrient input, via waste water and modified freshwater inputs is resulting in demonstrable impacts on a range of marine species and habitats within Kuwait marine waters. It also supports the move towards a regional approach required due to transboundary properties of many of the ecosystem components, drivers and pressures.
... The Gulf's fisheries industry represents the second most important natural resource after oil and is of great socioeconomic significance (Ahmed et al., 1998;Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). The regions geography and climate coupled with the rapid development of its coastal margins leave it prone to various types of environmental degradation (Sale et al. 2011). ...
... The regions geography and climate coupled with the rapid development of its coastal margins leave it prone to various types of environmental degradation (Sale et al. 2011). In recent years Kuwait's total fisheries landings have steadily declined with the depletion of valuable fish species (Dadzie et al. 2005;Sheppard et al., 2010;Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). Such a decline is thought to be a result of various factors or stressors, including overfishing, destruction of nursery grounds, reduction of flow of the Shatt-Al-Arab river and the discharge of high quantities of partially-treated or untreated sewage water into the environment (Sheppard et al. 2010;Al-Abdulghani et al., 2013). ...
Article
Kuwait has witnessed major socioeconomic and industrial development in recent decades. Consequently, a variety of contaminants related to these activities have been discharged directly into the marine environment. This paper describes the application of a histopathology baseline survey in two potential sentinel species, the Giant sea catfish (Arius thalassinus) and the Fourlined terapon (Pelates quadrilineatus) to assess the health of biota inhabiting Kuwait's marine environment. Histological analysis revealed several lesion types in both species, although the prevalence was generally considered low with no discernible differences between sampling locations. The analysis of contaminant burdens (metals, PCBs, PBDEs, HBCDD) in A. thalassinus, along with the analysis of bile for PAH metabolites in both species, indicated that levels of contaminant exposure was low. Overall the data show that both species appear to be susceptible to pathologies associated with environmental contaminants and therefore suitable for further investigation as sentinel organisms for biological effects monitoring. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
... This diverse and productive environment fulfils a number of roles that benefits Kuwaiti society. In addition to supporting the conservation of regionally and globally important biodiversity, Kuwait's marine environment supports productive finfish and shellfish fisheries for human consumption and the culturally significant pearl oyster, Pinctada radiate (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Husaini et al., 2015). The coastline and offshore areas have important recreational and amenity value, and waters of the Gulf are the main source of drinking water in Kuwait (Darwisk and Al-Nejem, 2005). ...
... War related incidents have caused acute anthropogenic inputs in addition to the long-term chronic increase in inputs (Readman et al., 1992). Over-fishing has led to declines in species abundance and population collapse of major commercial species (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Husaini et al., 2015). Untreated and unregulated sewage inputs cause bathing waters along the beaches of Kuwait City to regularly fail international microbial quality standards, and caused large nutrients inputs which have been implicated in large fish kill events (Heil et al., 2001;Glibert et al., 2002;Saeed et al., 2015). ...
... Different combinations of physical, chemical, and geological variables discriminate a range of environments, among which the Shatt Al-Arab delta, northern waters surrounding Bubiyan and Failaka islands in close proximity to Shatt Al-Arab mouth, Kuwait Bay, and offshore open area southward are clearly delineated. Contrasting gradients of salinity, water temperature, turbidity, nutrient concentrations, and textural variability of sediments ( Fig. 20.3) diversify Kuwait's marine environment and support characteristic associations of pelagic and benthic species (Jones 1986;Jones et al. 2002;Al-Yamani et al. 2004, 2007Polikarpov et al. 2009;Al-Zaidan et al. 2013;Bishop et al. 2013). ...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the results of research studies, which addressed the peculiarity of the estuarine and northern Arabian Gulf marine environment and the influence of the Shatt Al-Arab River and its associated marshes on the oceanography and biodiversity of the northern Gulf. The findings of the studies indicated that the northern waters of Kuwait, which are impacted by the Shatt Al-Arab River discharge, displayed lower salinity, higher nitrate concentration, higher chlorophyll-a, and higher sedimentation. The biodiversity of the northern waters of the Gulf also was significantly distinguished from the adjacent area away from the influence of the river flow. Discharge of the Shatt Al-Arab is considered to be a dominating driver of the northern Gulf’s ecology and largely responsible for the primary and secondary productivity of Kuwait’s waters. Long-term reduction in river discharge due to man-made alterations (damming and diversion of rivers) impacted the oceanographic characteristics of Kuwait’s waters with implication to fisheries resources. Management of Shatt Al-Arab River discharge into the Gulf requires cooperation among the riparian countries and downstream countries like Kuwait to preserve the productivity, biodiversity, and uniqueness of the northern Gulf ecosystems. Long-term monitoring and assessment as well as joint research programs involving scientists from the three concerned countries, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran, are needed.
... In addition to supporting both regionally and globally important biodiversity, Kuwait's marine environment supports productive fisheries for human consumption, which is economically the second most important natural resource after oil (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Husaini et al., 2015). The coastline and offshore areas have extensive recreational and amenity value . ...
Article
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The tropical waters of the Northern Arabian Gulf have a long history of maritime resource richness. High levels of biodiversity result from the complex matrix of coastal habitats, coral reefs and sea grass beds that characterise the region. Insight into the ongoing health of such habitats and the broader Kuwait maritime environment can be gauged by the status of indicator species found within these habitats. Here we review information on the occurrence, distribution and threats to key marine habitats and associated indicator species to provide an updated assessment of the state of the Kuwait's marine biodiversity. Critical evaluation of historic data highlights knowledge gaps needed inform the focus of future monitoring and conservation efforts. This assessment is designed to evaluate performance against environmental policy commitments, while providing a solid foundation for the design of comprehensive marine ecosystem management strategies.
... Our proposal involves the reverse operation of setting the zone of special protection such that it surrounds pre-existing artificial structures, but it can be reasonably assumed that the net effect will be the same as that obtained by Brochier et al. (2015). Spillover effects that may occur from a major zone of special protection surrounding the area of highest concentration of offshore oil and gas structures could also help alleviate the ongoing decline of fisheries production in neighbouring countries (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). Spillover effects of MPAs spanning larger spatial scales have already been demonstrated (Christie et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Because of the increasing oil industry development in the Arabian Gulf, hundreds of oil and gas facilities have been installed in both offshore and inshore areas during the last few decades. However, no studies have been conducted till now on the influence of these platforms on the structure and composition of marine faunal assemblages. The present work addressed this issue in order to propose environmental management measures connected to the utilization of fishery resources. Offshore and inshore surveys were carried out along the Saudi Gulf waters using trawl and beach seine nets, respectively. Data relative to only fish (offshore) and fish and invertebrates (inshore) were collected concurrently with several factors: density of oil and gas facilities (offshore), distance to the nearest coastal platform (inshore), oceanographic variables, and habitat characteristics. Results of offshore surveys indicated higher fish density –both total and of fishery resources– in locations with a higher number of oil and gas facilities within a 5 km radius, whereas biomass density was not significantly different. Hence, oil and gas facilities seem to serve as nursery areas for small fish. For inshore communities, higher number of species and diversity were found in stations closer to coastal oil and gas facilities. In addition, among the five coastal embayments sampled, those with more oil and gas facilities had higher number of species. The findings of the present work support the hypothesis of a positive net ecological role of oil and gas platforms of the Saudi Arabian Gulf, with the implication that this effect could be extended to improve the sustainability of important fishery resources.
... While the highest number of exceedances were observed around S00 and S07 during the Mishref crisis, it is clear to see that the problem is wide spread and covers all of the locations monitored (S00-S11). This is attributed to the failure of the sewage treatment network to keep pace with demands for capacity driven by rapid population growth that has almost tripled since 1975 (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013). This assumption is supported by the other faecal sterol contamination data available for Kuwait, which suggests wastewater discharge regimes did not significantly change between 1998 and 2012 (Al-Omran, 1998;Saeed et al., 2012;Saeed et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial water quality and concentrations of faecal sterols in sediment have been used to assess the degree of sewage contamination in Kuwait's marine environment. A review of microbial (faecal coliform, faecal streptococci and Escherichia coli) water quality data identified temporal and spatial sources of pollution around the coastline. Results indicated that bacterial counts regularly breach regional water quality guidelines. Sediments collected from a total of 29 sites contained detectable levels of coprostanol with values ranging from 29 to 2420ngg(-1) (dry weight). Hot spots based on faecal sterol sediment contamination were identified in Doha Bay and Sulaibikhat Bay, which are both smaller embayments of Kuwait Bay. The ratio of epicoprostanol/coprostanol indicates that a proportion of the contamination was from raw or partially treated sewage. Sewage pollution in these areas are thought to result from illegal connections and discharges from storm drains, such as that sited at Al-Ghazali. Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
... These contaminant inputs pose a risk to Kuwait's marine habitats, which serve as a primary nursery ground for many ecologically and economically important species, like Green Tiger prawn (Penaeus semisulcatus), and the fish suboor (Tenualosa ilisha), orange-potted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) and tigertooth croaker (Otolithes ruber; Al-Husaini et al., 2007;Al-Mohanna et al., 2014). The Shatt Al-Arab mudflats close to Kuwait's northern border provide ideal habitats for numerous fish species and penaeid shrimp (Al-Zaidan et al., 2013;Al-Husaini et al., 2015). Kuwait Bay and Khor Al-Sabiyah are some of the most important marine ecosystems around the Kuwait coastline and are known to be affected by anthropogenic inputs of contaminants via the Shatt Al-Arab River, coastal construction and effluent discharges . ...
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Nine trace elements including As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, V and Zn, and total petroleum hydrocarbons were analysed from water samples collected from 23 stations since 1984 from Kuwaiti coastal waters. Here it was investigated whether concentrations of these determinants are at levels above Kuwaiti and internationally established assessment criteria (AC). The results indicate that Cu and Cd had the most Kuwaiti AC breaches over time. Comparing the data of the last sampled year to the least stringent international AC, then Cu and Cd showed breaches at all stations. The trends for trace metals are significantly downwards, especially for Cd and Hg. No determinant measured showed a significant upward trend, indicating that water pollution for these contaminants is not a worsening situation. However, further sampling should be carried out to confirm these findings, especially at shoreline locations, where routine monitoring ceased in 2011 to investigate any recent changes.
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Although phosphorus (P) is an essential element needed for all lives, excess P can be harmful to the environment. The objective of this study aims to determine P flows in the fisheries sector of Thailand consisting of both sea and freshwater activities of captures and cultures. Currently, the annual fisheries catch averages 3.44 ± 0.50 Mt. Most comes from marine capture 1.95 ± 0.46 Mt, followed by coastal aquaculture 0.78 ± 0.09 Mt, freshwater aquaculture 0.49 ± 0.05 Mt, and inland capture 0.22 ± 0.01 Mt. Of this total, about 11% is contained in fresh products directly sold in local markets for consumption, while 89% is sent to processing factories prior to being sold in local markets and exported. The quantities of P entering the fisheries sector come from captures, import of fisheries products and feed produced from agriculture. This P input to the fisheries sector is found to average 28,506 t P.y(-1) based on the past ten-year records. Of this total, P input from captures accounts for 76%; while, 11% represents aquatic feeds from agriculture and animal manures. About 13% is obtained from the imports of fishery products. Coastal and freshwater aquacultures are found to be P consumers because their feeds are almost all produced from agricultural crops grown inland. Moreover, these activities cause most of P losses, approximately 10,188 t P·y(-1), which account for 89% of the total P loss from the fisheries sector. Overall, P in the fisheries sector is found to mobilize through three channels: (a) 44% is consumed within the country; (b) about 16% is exported; and, (c) 40% is lost from the ecosystem. Based on the results of this work it is recommended that future research be directed on ways to minimize P loss and maximize P recycle in Thailand's fisheries sector as to enhance its food security and curtail water pollution.
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This study provides the first ever baseline data on reproductive ecology and genetic identification of the endangered green turtle, Chelonia mydas, in the north-western Arabian Gulf, Kuwait.Two offshore islands were surveyed for nesting turtles in 2004 and 2005.The findings reveal that nesting (nest numbers, nesting season, incubation period, clutch size, and hatching success) by green turtles off the Kuwait coast is comparable with that of C. mydas worldwide.At Umm Al-Maradim Island, no turtles nested during 2005 because of excavation and dredging activities associated with the construction of a coastguard dock.Mitochondrial DNA control region sequences of 97 green turtles revealed six haplotypes, of which five have not previously been reported from rookeries in adjoining regional waters or adjacent oceans; this signifies the possibility of them being novel to the region.Prudent management approaches, represented mainly by the rehabilitation and restoration of Umm Al-Maradim Island and the designation of both foraging and nesting habitats as marine protected areas (MPAs), should be implemented by national as well as regional policy-makers to maintain the region's native biological diversity.Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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This field guide covers the major resource groups likely to be encountered in the fisheries of Kuwait, Eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. It includes marine plants, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods, sharks, batoid fishes, bony fishes, sea snakes, sea turtles, sea birds, and marine mammals. In order to serve as a tool for ecological and biodiversity studies, all species know from the Gulf of certain groups are included. These include the sharks, batoid fishes, bony fishes, sea turtles, and marine mammals. Each resource group is introduced by a general section on technical terms and measurements pertinent to that group and an illustrated guide to higher taxonomic groups when relevant. Species are then treated in a subsequent guide that includes scientific nomenclature, common English and Arabic names where available, size information, information on habitat, biology, and fisheries, diagnostic features, and one or more illustrations, some of which are included in colour. The guide is fully indexed and a list of references is appended.
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Although microbial mats are known worldwide to contribute to trophic bases in shallow marine embayments, their role has yet to be ascertained for similar habitats in the Arabian Gulf region. In this study, stable carbon isotope analysis in conjunction with faecal and gut analyses were employed to evaluate the relative importance of microbial mats in the nutrition of macrofaunal consumers and their contribution to the exceptional biodiversity, abundance and biomass of species inhabiting Sulaibikhat Bay mudflats (2000-2001) in the absence of extensive macro-vegetation. Microbial mats were mainly composed of diatoms and cyanobacteria (approx. 70 and 30% respectively), with a reduction in the latter with decreasing intertidal gradient. Faeces of 5 out of the 6 species analysed contained both mat components at varying degrees. Diatoms occurred rarely in faeces of the high intertidal consumers, while cyanobacteria dominated the faeces of those occurring at lower levels. Gut analysis revealed that 6 Out of the 9 species analysed contained mat residues. Primary producers had distinct delta C-13 values with microbial mats showing a heavy signature (-15.3 parts per thousand) in comparison to the halophyte Salicornia herbacea (-24.7 parts per thousand), phytoplankton (-21.6 parts per thousand) and the mangrove Avicennia marina (-28.1 parts per thousand). The VC values for herbivorous, omnivorous and carnivorous macrofauna ranged between -9.4 and -15.3 parts per thousand. It appears from this investigation that microbial mats form the primary source of nutrition for both benthic and pelagic macrofaunal species within the bay including commercially important species, and that selective assimilation/digestion of cyanophytes from the mats is the likely explanation for the relatively high enrichment in the delta C-13 signatures of species located along the higher intertidal zone.
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Exploitation of fishery resources has become a major conservation issue on a global scale. Commercial fisheries have been repeatedly blamed for the worldwide declines in fish populations. However, we contend that the recreational fishing sector also has the potential to negatively affect fish and fisheries. Here we present evidence to show that both recreational and commercial fishing sectors deserve consideration as contributors to the exploitation of fish in marine and inland waters. The lack of global monitoring and compiling of statistics on recreational fishing participation, harvest, and catch-and-release has retarded our ability to understand the magnitude of this fishing sector. Using data from Canada, we estimate that the potential contribution of recreational fish harvest around the world may represent approximately 12 percent of the global fish harvest. Failure to recognize the potential contribution of recreational fishing to fishery declines, environmental degradation, and ecosystem alterations places ecologically and economically important resources at risk. Elevating recreational fishing to a global conservation concern would facilitate the development of strategies to increase the sustainability of this activity.
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The Gulf's biological character is briefly reviewed to provide a background to the main habitats and their condition, for the papers in this Special Issue. The Gulf's marine resources are described in the context of possible environmental consequences of the 1991 Gulf War. While emphasis is given to living resources, in particular ecosystems and fisheries, non-living resources are also briefly considered (e.g. oil and gas), as is availability of clean seawater for production of fresh water. The focus is on the western and Arabian coasts; the eastern (Iranian) coast remains one of the least known in the world in biological terms. Of the subtidal ecosystems, coral reefs are the most diverse. They are highly productive, but cover only a small area and so are of relatively minor importance in a regional sense. Seagrasses are common in shallow areas (<10 m), forming the basis of many food chains. At least four seagrass species are known for the region, but most communities are dominated by Halodule uninervis. Seagrasses are also an important habitat for commercial shrimp (e.g. Penaeus semisulcatus), pearl oysters and many other organisms. Mudflats occupy extensive areas of the intertidal zone. Their productivity is often enhanced by Cyanophya-dominated algal mats. Naturally occurring mangroves are found in association with tidal flats and are represented by a single species, Avicennia marina. Mangroves are much less extensive in the Gulf (125–130 km2) than the Red Sea (400–500 km2).Of major regional and global importance are the Gulf's fisheries, particularly for penaeid shrimp (e.g.P. semisulcatus), but also for groupers, jacks and spanish mackerel. Fauna important to conservation issues include sea birds, green and hawksbill turtles and dugongs.
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We mapped and briefly describe the surficial geology of selected examples of shelf-edge reefs (50 - 120 m deep) of the southeastern United States, which are apparently derived from ancient Pleistocene shorelines and are intermittently distributed throughout the region. These reefs are ecologically significant because they support a diverse array of fish and invertebrate species, and they are the only aggregation spawning sites of gag (Mycteroperca microlepis), scamp (M. phenax), and other economically important reef fish. Our studies on the east Florida shelf in the Experimental Oculina Research Reserve show that extensive damage to the habitat- structuring coral Oculina varicosa has occurred in the past, apparently from trawling and dredging activities of the 1970s and later. On damaged or destroyed Oculina habitat, reef-fish abundance and diversity are low, whereas on intact habitat, reef-fish diversity is relatively high compared to historical diversity on the same site. The abundance and biomass of the economically important reef fish was much higher in the past than it is now, and spawning aggregations of gag and scamp have been lost or greatly reduced in size. On the west Florida shelf, fishers have concentrated on shelf-edge habitats for over 100 yrs, but fishing intensity increased dramatically in the 1980s. Those reefs are characterized by low abundance of economically important species. The degree and extent of habitat damage there is unknown. We recommend marine fishery reserves to protect habitat and for use in experimentally examining the potential production of unfished communities.
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World population is expected to grow from the present 6.8 billion people to about 9 billion by 2050. The growing need for nutritious and healthy food will increase the demand for fisheries products from marine sources, whose productivity is already highly stressed by excessive fishing pressure, growing organic pollution, toxic contamination, coastal degradation and climate change. Looking towards 2050, the question is how fisheries governance, and the national and international policy and legal frameworks within which it is nested, will ensure a sustainable harvest, maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and adapt to climate change. This paper looks at global fisheries production, the state of resources, contribution to food security and governance. It describes the main changes affecting the sector, including geographical expansion, fishing capacity-building, natural variability, environmental degradation and climate change. It identifies drivers and future challenges, while suggesting how new science, policies and interventions could best address those challenges.
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Ongoing declines in production of the world's fisheries may have serious ecological and socioeconomic consequences. As a result, a number of international efforts have sought to improve management and prevent overexploitation, while helping to maintain biodiversity and a sustainable food supply. Although these initiatives have received broad acceptance, the extent to which corrective measures have been implemented and are effective remains largely unknown. We used a survey approach, validated with empirical data, and enquiries to over 13,000 fisheries experts (of which 1,188 responded) to assess the current effectiveness of fisheries management regimes worldwide; for each of those regimes, we also calculated the probable sustainability of reported catches to determine how management affects fisheries sustainability. Our survey shows that 7% of all coastal states undergo rigorous scientific assessment for the generation of management policies, 1.4% also have a participatory and transparent processes to convert scientific recommendations into policy, and 0.95% also provide for robust mechanisms to ensure the compliance with regulations; none is also free of the effects of excess fishing capacity, subsidies, or access to foreign fishing. A comparison of fisheries management attributes with the sustainability of reported fisheries catches indicated that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, is at the core of achieving fisheries sustainability, regardless of other attributes of the fisheries. Our results illustrate the great vulnerability of the world's fisheries and the urgent need to meet well-identified guidelines for sustainable management; they also provide a baseline against which future changes can be quantified.
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Ecological extinction caused by overfishing precedes all other pervasive human disturbance to coastal ecosystems, including pollution, degradation of water quality, and anthropogenic climate change. Historical abundances of large consumer species were fantastically large in comparison with recent observations. Paleoecological, archaeological, and historical data show that time lags of decades to centuries occurred between the onset of overfishing and consequent changes in ecological communities, because unfished species of similar trophic level assumed the ecological roles of overfished species until they too were overfished or died of epidemic diseases related to overcrowding. Retrospective data not only help to clarify underlying causes and rates of ecological change, but they also demonstrate achievable goals for restoration and management of coastal ecosystems that could not even be contemplated based on the limited perspective of recent observations alone.
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A third season of excavation by the joint Kuwaiti-British team took place at the Ubaid-related site of H3 in northern Kuwait during the spring of 2001. Permission to excavate was again granted by Dr al Rumayhi, Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, to whom we are most grateful. The work was only possible because of the generosity of a number of funding bodies: the NCCAL in Kuwait; the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; the Institute of Archaeology, University College London; the Charlotte Bonham-Carter Charitable Trust; the Central Research fund of London University; the Society for Arabian Studies; and, above all, Kuwait Shell, our industrial sponsor. The success of the season was due to their generosity and to the dedication and skill of all members of the two teams. Objectives this year included the continuation of work in the multi-cellular building in Area A identified in the second season, and the uncovering of the building visible on the surface in the adjacent Area C. The multi-cellular building proved to be structurally complex and had an unexpected depth of deposit in its chambers. These deposits proved to be extremely rich in finds which will greatly enhance our understanding of the site when analyses are completed. In Area C, the new building was defined and excavated to its base although its relationship with the adjacent building(s) in Area A remains to be defined. Limited work was also carried out in the previously excavated military dug-out, or foxhole, Area F, where work was completed. Two teams worked in Area A which was subdivided this season into an east and a west sector, while a third team investigated Area C.
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Recent developments in Kuwait's shrimp fishery includes an important increase in landings of the main commercial species, Penaeus semisulcatus. This increase has coincided with a marked fall in landings of the other important species, Metapenaeus affinis. This article examines some detailed scientific results that were used to justify the management measures taken and discusses some of the successes and failures of shrimp fisheries management in Kuwait. -from Author
Article
The demersal fisheries of the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf are reviewed. The region comprises eight countries: Oman, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. Over 350 commercial fish species, eight shrimp species, two spiny lobster species, one shovel nose lobster species, one cuttlefish species, one crab species, and one abalone species support the demersal fisheries in the continental shelves of the three regions. Artisanal and industrial vessels with over 120 000 fishermen were involved in demersal fisheries. Fishing boats include fish and shrimp trawlers (wooden and steel hulled), large wooden boats (dhow) with inboard engines, small dhows with outboard engines, and fibreglass boats. Fishing gear consists of trawls, bottom gill nets, traps (wire mesh and plastic types), barrier traps, hand lines, and bare hands and knives (to dislodge abalone). Demersal fish (primarily Lethrinidae, Sparidae, Serranidae, Siganidae, Sciaenidae, Stromateidae, Lutjanidae, Trichiuridae, and Nemipteridae) and shrimp (primarily Penaeus semisulcatus, Metapenaeus affinis, Parapenaeopsis stylifera, and Penaeus merguiensis) were the two commercial demersal resources. Approximately 198 000–214 000 tonnes (t) of demersals were landed annually during 1988–1993, accounting for nearly 40% of the total marine landings (475 000–552 000 t). This percentage, however varied among countries: 25% in Oman, 32% in U.A.E., 71% in Qatar, 52% in Saudi Arabia, 56% in Bahrain, 55% in Kuwait, close to 100% in Iraq, and 41% in Iran. Fishing effort on certain stocks may have been below the optimum level (e.g. certain Omani demersal fish), near the optimum level (e.g. Omani shrimp), or above the optimum level (e.g. Arabian Gulf shrimp and demersal fish). Overexploitation led to restriction of fishing effort by limiting fishing licences, regulating fishing gear (mesh size) and capture size, closing fishing areas, restricting fishing season, and banning certain fisheries. However, fisheries management was hampered by lack of appropriate management regulations, enforcement and data on most stocks. Pollution and degradation of nursery areas were also affecting the productivity of fisheries resources. To achieve sustainable demersal fisheries, maintaining a healthy marine environment, reducing fishing effort, and strictly enforcing closed seasons and closed areas are needed. These measures are being implemented with varying degrees of success by all the countries.
Article
Fishing has been a part of the traditional heritage of Kuwait for centuries. Nearly 130 fish species are known to occur in Kuwait waters. The fin-fish fisheries are licensed to be caught by gill nets, gargoor traps and hand lines using dhow wooden and fibreglass boats. A complete ban on fishing within the 3-mile limit off the Kuwait coast and Kuwait Bay has been maintained as part of conservation of fish breeding and nursery areas. However only Hadra stake nets are allowed to be operated for fin-fish catches within the coastal zone. Annual 1995 fin-fish catch comprised nearly 80% of the total marine fisheries' harvest. Recent catch composition of highly palatable fish, namely the silver croaker, Otolithes argenteus, the shad, Hilsa ilisha, the silver pomfret, Pampus argenteus, the brown spotted grouper, Epinephelus tauvina and the silvery grunt, Pomadasys argenteus has been found to be 23, 17, 16, 5 and 3% of the total fin-fish catch respectively. It has been noticed that edible fish preference varies from state to state as species-specific preferences appear to differ among Gulf tribes. The consumer demand for fish and the price stability equilibrium have been evaluated. The pattern of regional fin-fish import and export has been discussed. Although mariculture production potential has been estimated to be high, only 90 tons/annum of sea bream has been cultivated in floating cages. Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research in collaboration with the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources have initiated cultivation of tilapia and other fish species in the local brackish water fish farms. Suggestions and recommendations have been made for sustainable fin-fish development in Kuwait.
Article
Although it is not yet possible to age the pomfret (Pampus argenteus; locally known as zobaidy) analysis of regular monthly length samples taken during 1982 has enabled estimates of growth, mortality, and mean selection length to be made for the stocks in Kuwaiti waters. The basis of the analysis was the estimation of growth parameters using the ELEFAN I technique of Pauly and David (1981). A length-converted catch curve was then constructed from which total mortality and mean selection length were estimated. Natural mortality (M) was estimated using the relationship between M, the growth parameters, and mean environmental temperature (Pauly, 1980). Yield-per-recruit analysis indicated that the zobaidy stocks are not heavily exploited and an increase in yield per recruit may be expected if fishing effort is increased. However, no significant increase in yield per recruit could be expected from manipulation of size at first capture. Pauly, D. 1980. J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer, 39: 175–192. Pauly, D., and David, N. 1981. Ber. dt. wiss. Kommn Meeresforsch., 28: 205–211.
Article
A recent quantitative survey, of the last pristine section of salt marsh in Sulaibikhat Bay, reveals the presence of at least three brachyuran genera endemic to the Gulf, Nasima dotilliformis Manninngis arabicum, andLeptochryseus kuwaitense , the last of which appears to be restricted to Kuwait. Comparison of the salt marsh in Sulaibikhat Bay with a similar site, which has been subjected to infill and also receives sewage effluent, shows that the impacts are positively correlated with a reduction in biodiversity. Quantitative data on macrofauna distribution and abundance indicate that such pristine habitats support an extremely rich biodiversity, which is linked to commercial fisheries, and that urgent action is required to prevent further loss of these habitats.
Article
A new simple optimization procedure was used to estimate the natural mortality (M) of the heavily exploited Kuwaiti Penaeus semisulcatus (de Haan) stock using tagging data. The new M estimator was based on two tagging experiments with similar (constant) SB values (i.e. the product of initial survival after tagging and the reporting rate), but with different total mortality (Z) values. Two conventional methods were employed to evaluate M for direct estimation and comparison; one, modified Gulland's formulae, using 1982–1983 tagging-experiment data, and the other, catch per unit effort (CPUE) ratio, using 1986/1987–1990 industrial fishery CPUE data. The M estimate for males was 0.1314 per 20 days (2.4 per year) with a standard error of 0.0135. The female tagging experiments violated the critical assumption underlying the new M estimator; nevertheless, by comparing results from other methods, the male M value was accepted for females. The new M estimator and modified Gulland's formulae will likely produce reasonable estimates of M if compatible tagging experiments and fairly accurate Z values are used.
Article
The landings and survey data for the Kuwait shrimp fishery were analyzed. The estimated bycatch-to-shrimp ratios exhibited a seasonal pattern, with summer having the highest ratio. There was a significant difference in bycatch-to-shrimp ratio between Kuwait Bay and the rest of the Kuwaiti waters. The temporal and spatial patterns of the ratio strongly support the seasonal and area closures implemented for the shrimp fishery in terms of bycatch reduction.The bycatch-to-shrimp ratio of the shrimp fishery was 15.32, 6.78 and 13.68 in 1987/1988, 1988/1989 and 1989/1990, respectively. Total bycatch in the shrimp trawling ranged from 34740 to 55500tonnes (t) during the study period, and more than 98% of the bycatch was discarded at sea. The total discards from the shrimp fishery was 7.5-fold higher than the mean of annual finfish landings in Kuwait. The major part of the discarded was non-Ariid finfish, accounting to 53.61%.
Article
The global marine fish catch is approaching its upper limit. The number of overfished populations, as well as the indirect effects of fisheries on marine ecosystems, indicate that management has failed to achieve a principal goal, sustainability. This failure is primarily due to continually increasing harvest rates in response to incessant sociopolitical pressure for greater harvests and the intrinsic uncertainty in predicting the harvest that will cause population collapse. A more holistic approach incorporating interspecific interactions and physical environmental influences would contribute to greater sustainability by reducing the uncertainty in predictions. However, transforming the management process to reduce the influence of pressure for greater harvest holds more immediate promise.
Article
BERLIN-- Edelgard Bulmahn has been a major force in German science and higher education since becoming research minister in 1998. She has proposed an overhaul of Germany's university rules--seeking merit pay and "junior professorships" that would free young scientists to pursue independent research--that has polarized the academic community. In a 9 April interview with Science in her Berlin office, Bulmahn discussed these and other topics in laying out her vision for German research.
Chapter
While the biological impacts of commercial fishing are well documented, those of recreational fisheries have received less attention. However, intensive and selective angling and related activities (e.g. fish stocking and introductions) can affect fish populations and aquatic ecosystems, often in conjunction with impacts external to the fishery. The risks range from those occurring to the exploited fish population (truncation of the natural age and size structure, delay of stock rebuilding through depensatory mechanisms, loss of genetic variability and adaptation, evolutionary changes) to those that occur to the aquatic ecosystem (changes in trophic cascades or nutrient cycling). In particular, genetic changes and the loss of biodiversity can be a severe threat to fish communities and ecosystems and require sophisticated management approaches. Finally, those implications for a sustainable management of recreational fisheries are discussed, which can help to reduce or avoid unwanted biological effects, social conflicts and ensure the long-term persistence of the natural resources.
Article
Seasonal closure of fishing is a widely adopted regulatory measure in tropical and subtropical shrimp fisheries. The methods used to analyse the consequences of closed seasons are mainly dependent on traditional age-structured yield-per-recruit models without considering the two most specific features of tropical and subtropical penaeids: short lifespan and seasonality of growth. This study presents a length-based yield-per-recruit model that takes into account growth and price differences of different size shrimp and provides improved estimates of yield per recruit (Y/R) and value per recruit (V/R). Its application to the Kuwait shrimp fishery shows that the new model produces an earlier opening date for a maximum Y/R or V/R, predicts a lower increase in Y/R and V/R when season closure is introduced, and estimates higher Y/R and V/R at a given effort. An opening date for a maximum Y/R is 1 September and for a maximum V/R, 1 October, given the current effort. With the opening date of 1 September, reducing effort from the current level by 30% would result in a loss of only 2.6% in V/R or 7.0% in Y/R. Increasing the effort of the dhow fleet will have a negative effect on the total catch, but the degree is low, particularly when the opening date is late.
Article
While the impacts of high exploitation on fish populations and aquatic ecosystems are well-documented for commercial fishing, particularly in the marine environment, the potential biological impacts of angling received less attention. This paper discusses angling patterns within a framework of basic ecological and evolutionary literature and examines potential biological impacts of angling by focus-ing on study results associated with high exploitation rates and pronounced selective exploitation. The impacts range from impacts occurring directly on the exploited species (truncation of the natural age and size structure, depensatory mechanisms, loss of ge-netic variability, evolutionary changes), to those that occur on the aquatic ecosystem (changes in trophic cascades, trait-mediated effects). As a third category, impacts re-lated to the angling activity per se are distinguished (habitat modifications, wildlife disturbance, nutrient inputs, loss of fishing gear). Although the main threats to fish often are localized outside recreational fisheries, there is growing evidence that angling and angling associated activities can lead to a decline of fish populations and affect aquatic ecosystems in various ways provided that the degree of the fishing mortality is high and the selective exploitation is intensive. In conclusion, management implications for sustainable recreational fisheries and areas for future research are outlined.
Article
The relationship between spawning stock and recruitment in penaeid shrimp fisheries has been questioned because they exhibit unique characteristics with respect to population dynamics and fisheries. This study used meta-analyses to test the null hypothesis that recruitment is a series of random, independent events based on the penaeid shrimp stocks found in published sources. Both the derivative hypothesis test and Granger causality test rejected the null hypothesis. Thus, recruitment is related to spawner abundance. Shrimp populations should be managed so as to maintain sufficient spawning stock abundance to yield high recruitment.
Article
In February 1991 the retreating Iraqi army fired Kuwait's oil wells. Heavy clouds of oil smoke reduced temperatures and illumination along the Saudi Arabian coast, and there was extremely heavy oiling of the shoreline in Saudi Arabia. This paper is part of the output of a mutidisciplinary effort to determine the effects of these events on the Saudi prawn stocks and the fishery they support.In 1991 Saudi Arabian prawn landings fell markedly, with a very low proportion of sexually mature adults. By 1992 the cohort abundance index (t boat−1 yr−1) for adults and juveniles was about 1.5 units compared with a value of 195–205 units for 1989–1990 respectively. The spawning biomass index fell to about 1.8% of the prewar level, a decline capable of causing a recruitment collapse. Independent biomass estimates from trawl surveys showed a decline in total biomass to <1.5% of mean pre-war levels. Landings fell from nearly 4000 t in 1989 to about 25 t in the first half of 1992, causing suspension of the prawn fishery. Yield and biomass per recruit analyses indicate that the stock was not over-fished prior to 1991. A plankton survey (Price et al., 1993) carried out on the spawning grounds showed that penaeid egg/larval abundances were about an order of magnitude lower in 1992 than in earlier years.The evidence suggests that a man made recruitment collapse occurred, caused by one or more of the following: reduced spawning success in 1992 and perhaps in 1991, heavy fishing of adults in spring 1991, heavy fishing of recruits in autumn 1991, morbidity of adults due to pollution in 1991, emigration of adults due to pollution in 1991, interference with biological processes and life cycle of P. semisucaltus, reducing 1991–1992 spawning biomass.All scientific data collection was suspended at the initiation of the Iraq/Kuwait War in August 1990; until late 1991 priority was given to environmental cleaning. Because of this and the lack of detailed biological knowledge about Gulf P. semisulcatus it is impossible to identify the exact pathway through which the prawn stock was impacted. Nevertheless the events associated with the war appear to be the likely cause for failure of the stock.Since causes of the collapse in landings and spawning biomass are not properly identified it is not yet possible to determine whether the stock will recover; and if it does so, the period required for recovery.Reasons why the oil fires and the spill impacted the stock so severely are discussed; the very different effects of this spill and that of the Ixtoc and Nowruz spills are examined. The relevance for other Asian and warm water penaeid fisheries is discussed.
Article
Commercial fishing has repeatedly been identified as a major causal factor for global declines in fish stocks. Recently, recreational fisheries have also been considered as having the potential to contribute to fisheries declines. Here, we take a global focus, contrasting the characteristics of commercial and recreational fisheries relevant to conservation and sustainability of exploited fishes in both marine and freshwater environments. We provide evidence to support our assertion that the same issues that have led to global fisheries concerns regarding commercial fishing can have equivalent, and in some cases, magnified effects in recreational fisheries. Contrasts revealed that the issues of bycatch and catch-and-release, fisheries-induced selection, trophic changes, habitat degradation, gear technology, fishing effort, and production regimes are remarkably similar among fishery sectors. In recognition of this conclusion, we present a new vision for recreational fishing that positions it on the same scale and urgency as commercial fisheries. Efforts to manage and conserve fisheries must recognise that issues and threats are similar in these fundamentally and philosophically different fisheries, as may be the solutions. Failure to recognise the similarities will further polarise these sectors and retard efforts to conserve aquatic resources. Fishing activity of any kind, whether commercial or recreational, has the potential to affect negatively fish and fisheries, as well as aquatic environments.
Article
"Developments during the past two years confirm the trends already observed at the end of the 1990s: capture fisheries production is stagnating, aquaculture output is expanding and there are growing concerns with regard to the livelihoods of fishers and the sustainability of commercial catches and the aquatic ecosystems from which they are extracted. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2004 reports on several of these issues. "It is not only fishers and fish farmers who have these concerns; they are increasingly shared by civil society at large. Moreover, the importance of international trade in fish and fish products, combined with the trend for major fishing and trading companies to operate on a multinational basis, means that such issues are becoming global in nature affecting a growing number of countries, be they large fish producers or large consumers of fish. It is heartening to note that governments and other stakeholders have begun to collaborate with their neighbours and partners in trade in an effort to find shared solutions. "Concrete examples of positive outcomes of this globalization of concerns are the establishment of new regional fishery management organizations and the strengthening of existing ones. It is probable that ongoing discussions among intergovernmental organizations on topics such as trade in endangered aquatic species, the use of subsidies in the fishing industry, and labour standards in fisheries will also result in agreements of overall benefit to world society. "Given the nature and tone of the international discussion on fishery issues and the developments observed during recent years, I believe that fishers and fish farmers, in collaboration with governments and other stakeholders, will overcome the obstacles they face currently and will succeed in ensuring sustainable fisheries and continued supplies of food fish at least at their present levels."
Article
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any comparable period of human history. We have done this to meet the growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. While changes to ecosystems have enhanced the well-being of billions of people, they have also caused a substantial and largely irreversible loss in diversity of life on Earth, and have strained the capacity of ecosystems to continue providing critical services. Among the findings: Approximately 60% of the services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. The harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years. Only four ecosystem services have been enhanced in the last 50 years: crops, livestock, aquaculture, and the sequestration of carbon. The capacity of ecosystems to neutralize pollutants, protect us from natural disasters, and control the outbreaks of pests and diseases is declining significantly. Terrestrial and freshwater systems are reaching the limits of their ability to absorb nitrogen. Harvesting of fish and other resources from coastal and marine systems is compromising their ability to deliver food in the future. Richly illustrated with maps and graphs, Current State and Trends presents an assessment of Earth's ability to provide twenty-four distinct services essential to human well-being. These include food, fiber, and other materials; the regulation of the climate and fresh water systems; underlying support systems such as nutrient cycling; and the fulfillment of cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic values. The volume pays particular attention to the current health of key ecosystems, including inland waters, forests, oceans, croplands, and dryland systems, among others. It will be an indispensable reference for scientists, environmentalists, agency professionals, and students.
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