Estimating Competition between Wildlife and Humans-A Case of Cormorants and Coastal Fisheries in the Baltic Sea
2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 12, e83763- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Cormorants and other wildlife populations have come in real or perceived conflicts with humans over exploited fish stocks. From gut contents of cormorants, and using an extension of the Catch equation, we estimated the degree of short term competition between great cormorants and coastal fisheries in two areas along the Swedish Baltic Sea. Cormorants consumed 10 and 44%, in respective area, of the fish biomass of six fish species harvested by humans; eel, flounder, herring, perch, pike, and whitefish. On average, cormorants consumed smaller individuals than harvested in fisheries. But for perch, cod and flounder, cormorants consumed harvestable sized fish corresponding >20% of human catches. Our competition model estimated the direct decrease in fisheries catches due to cormorant predation to be <10% for all species except flounder (>30%) and perch (2-20%). When also including the indirect effects of cormorant predation on smaller fish that never reached harvestable size, the estimated decrease in fisheries catches at least doubled for perch (13-34%) and pike (8-19%). Despite large uncertainties, our model indicates that cormorants may locally have a direct impact on human catches of at least flounder, and when incorporating indirect effects also on perch and pike. The study indicates that the degree of competition between cormorants and humans varies substantially between areas. We also included economical values in the model and concluded that for the commercially most important species, eel and cod, the estimated economic impact of cormorants on fisheries was low.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 12, e83763- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-218597DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083763ISI: 000329194700066OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-218597DiVA: diva2:696196