Management strategies to minimize the dredging impacts of coastal development on fish and fisheries

Amelia S. Wenger, Chris Rawson, Shaun Wilson, Stephen Newman, Michael J. Travers, Scott Atkinson, Nicola Browne, Douglas Clarke, Martial Depczynski, Paul Erftemeijer, Richard Evans, Jean-Paul Hobbs, Jennifer McIlwain, Dianne McLean, Benjamin Saunders, Euan Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Accelerating coastal development and shipping activities dictate that dredging operations will intensify, increasing potential impacts to fishes. Coastal fishes have high economic, ecological, and conservation significance and there is a need for evidencebased, quantitative guidelines on how to mitigate the impacts of dredging activities. We assess the potential risk from dredging to coastal fish and fisheries on a global scale. We then develop quantitative guidelines for two management strategies: threshold reference values and seasonal restrictions. Globally, threatened species and nearshore fisheries occur within close proximity to ports. We find that maintaining suspended sediment concentrations below 44 mg/L (15–121 bootstrapped CI) and for less than 24 hours would protect 95% of fishes from dredging-induced mortality. Implementation of seasonal restrictions during peak periods of reproduction and recruitment could further protect species from dredging impacts. This study details the first evidence-based defensible approach to minimize impacts to coastal fishes from dredging activities.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12572
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Letters
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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