[MARMAM] New paper about impact aquaculture on marine top predators

Bruno Díaz López bruno at thebdri.com
Fri Feb 17 11:41:26 PST 2017

I am delighted to bring to your attention the publication of my last paper in Marine Ecology journal: 

Diaz Lopez B., 2017. Temporal variability of predator presence around a fin fish farm in the North-western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Ecology 38(1), e12378. DOI: 10.1111/maec.12378

Abstract: Recently, aquaculture has generated worldwide interest as a result of the overexploitation of wild stocks combined with a growing international demand for fish and seafood products. Wild fish attracted to the marine fish farms, together with the presence of the farmed fish, are powerful attractants to predators that normally feed on similar or identical fish stocks in nature. This 9-year study describes for the first time in Mediterranean waters the temporal variability of mammalian and avian predators in a coastal fin fish farm. In all, 99 months (1062 days during 36 consecutive seasons) were spent in the field. By examining the results of this study, it is clear that species as seagulls, shags, bottlenose dolphins and grey herons (considered to cause economic loss in aquaculture owing to direct predation) interact regularly with the fish farm. Although bottlenose dolphins and grey herons were not the most important of all predator species, predatory interactions with the fish farm occurred with what seems to be increasing regularity. Another result observed is the possible bottlenose dolphins’ attraction caused by the harvesting operations in the fish farm. The fish farm offers an alternative food source for predators; hunting at fish farms usually requires less effort on the part of the predator, and becomes a more attractive option than hunting wild fish over wide ranges. During the period of this study, individually identified dolphins feeding were regularly observed feeding on discarded fish from fish farm workers during harvesting operations, supporting the possibility that some individuals are habituated to this food supply. Based on the evidence presented in this paper, it is recommended that strategies for the management of both the aquaculture industry and marine mammal populations should take the results of this study into consideration.

The paper can be download via the following link:

Please feel free to contact me if you don't have access to the paper.

Kind regards,
Bruno Díaz López
Chief biologist and Director
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI
Avenida Beiramar 192, O Grove 36980, Spain
0034 684 248552

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