Subject: fisheries impacts and prey availability

roman (jroman@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU)
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 16:50:03 +0100

>I'm currently a graduate student at Duke University exploring the impacts of
>over-fishing on marine mammal populations.  Specifically, I'm interested in
>impacts that result from the depletion of prey species or a change in the
>prey structure due to the over-exploited commercial fisheries around the
>word.  I've found a fair amount of information on this subject relating to
>the decline of Stellar sea lion stocks.  Are there any other species of
>marine mammals for which lack of prey has been implicated as having an
>impact?  Any citations or references would be greatly appreciated as well as
>any information regarding prey availability and marine mammal stocks in
>Joel T. Bell
>Duke University
>Nicholas School of the Environment
>Coastal Environmental Management Program

Dear Joel:

I'm sure you're familar with two recent papers from the Pacific Northwest.
One on killer whales switching to sea otters when seal populations
declined, and the other was on the decline of sea otters themselves (or at
least that's how I remember it).  Both articles came out within the year in
Science or Nature.  Unfortunately, I don't have reprints for either, but
they shouldn't be difficult to find if you run a search on either
Zoological or Biological Abstracts at Duke.

Two references that do come to mind:

Payne, P. M., D. N. Wiley, S. B. Young, S. Pittman, P. Clapham, and J.
Jossi.  !990.  Recent fluctuations in the abundance of baleen whales in the
southern Gulf of Maine in relation to changes in selected prey.  Fish Bull.

Whitehead, H., and J. E. Carscadden.  1985.  Predicting inshore whale
abundance--whales and capelin off the Newfoundland coast.  Can. J. Fish.
Aquat.  Sci. 42:976-81.

Good luck with your research.


Joseph Roman
University of Florida
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PO Box 12253
Gainesville, FL 32604
(352) 379-8096