Long Term Trends of Some Trawl-Caught Estuarine Species in Louisianaby William S. Perret, Louisiana Dep of Wildlife &, Fisheries, Baton Rouge, United States,
John E. Roussel, Louisiana Dep of Wildlife &, Fisheries, Baton Rouge, United States,
John F. Burdon, Louisiana Dep of Wildlife &, Fisheries, Baton Rouge, United States,
Judd F. Pollard, Louisiana Dep of Wildlife &, Fisheries, Baton Rouge, United States,
Abstract: Louisiana's estuarine area is nearly four times greater than that of any other state and it constitutes some 42 percent of the total within the United States. These wetlands have been recognized as some of the most productive fisheries habitats in the world, and comprise the central part of the area of the Gulf of Mexico referred to as the 'Fertile Crescent'. Louisiana's vast coastal complex, which contains nine district estuarine basins along with the adjacent Gulf of Mexico waters is a major contributor to the commercial and recreational fisheries of the nation. This area has consistently exhibited exceptional fisheries production; however, significant environmental, economic and social changes are occurring which may diminish the area's capacity to sustain this historically high fisheries output. Natural and human-induced activities have combined to drastically alter Louisiana's coastal aquatic and wetland environments. These environments with their diverse habitats and ecosystems are the foundation upon which this fisheries production exists. The authors present long term fisheries-independent data from otter trawl sampling of selected estuarine dependent species which were chosen to represent a wide range of fisheries interests. Species addressed include commercial and recreational finfish and crustaceans, along with industrial and forage finfish. They also discuss long term as well as annual fluctuations in harvest production for those species for which data is available and provide some explanation for these variations. Insight gained from close observation of the harvesting sector over the past 30 years is presented along with a cursory discussion of economic, social and environmental factors.
Subject Headings: Estuaries | Fish management | Wetlands (coastal) | Social factors | Economic factors | Developing countries | Gulfs | North America | United States | Louisiana | Gulf of Mexico
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