In many coastal areas fishing constitutes the dominant anthropogenic impact on coastal ecosystems. That fishing has altered the abundance and size spectra of fish communities is beyond doubt. We use time series of the abundance, in the North Sea, of 8 demersal fish species and data on food consumption rates to reconstruct a time series of benthic predation pressure. The changes in fish biomass that have occurred, primarily due to fishing pressure, have led to a change in the quantity and taxonomic composition of the benthos consumed by fish predators. Such alterations in the flow of material between ecosystem compartments are likely to cause further changes in ecosystem function as an indirect result of fishing.
|Publication status||Published - 1999|