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Estuarine Degradation and Rehabilitation

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Cécile Capderrey
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Michael Elliott
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Patrick Meire
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Chapter 8 8.1 Introduction As shown throughout these volumes, estuaries are transitional waters between marine and continental freshwater aquatic ecosystems. They provide essential habitats for fish, such as reproduction areas, nursery areas, feeding areas, refuges and as a migration corridor for diadromous species (Blaber & Blaber 1980, Beck et al. 2001, Elliott & Hemingway 2002). They are important for several recreational activities and fisheries and deliver many other ecosystem services and goods and benefits to our society. Historically, numerous estuaries have been impacted by a vast array of human activities, from severe hydromorphological changes to high levels of pollution from urban, agricultural and industrial discharges. These pollution levels can be so high that almost all kinds of aquatic life are destroyed (Van den Bergh et al. 2005, Lotze et al. 2006, Lotze 2010) hence impeding the ability of the estuaries to provide normal ecosystem services (Costanza et al. 1997, Barbier et al. 2011, Costanza et al. 2014). Here we briefly summarise some of the major direct and indirect impacts that degrade estuaries and affect the fish communities within these systems, before presenting a vision on estuarine restoration, including the role of ecoengineering and ecohydrology in this restoration. The chapter aims to describe the general context of estuary degradation and the potential effects on fish communities. Perhaps more than in other environments because of the very wide variety of human activities around estuaries, the interactions of activities and their potential effects affect fish directly and indirectly, in combination and at all levels of complexity of the fish community (see also Blaber et al. 2022, Elliott et al. 2022b, Gillanders et al. 2022, Moyle & Stompe 2022). The stressors discussed in this chapter are not an exhaustive list of what may impact fish and do not present all the potential effects of these stressors, but the chapter does provide an overview of the main known stressors in the context of climate change. Some examples of solutions are given to highlight that a step forward is possible and necessary to restore or rehabilitate estuarine ecosystems. Several tools are proposed as available approaches to fill the gaps in the necessary knowledge and to increase the chances of success. 8.1.1 Hazards and risks to estuarine fish and fisheries and their habitats The degradation of estuarine habitats, water column and connectivity, especially with the adjacent upstream and marine areas, can be viewed in the context of natural and anthropogenic hazards (e.g. Elliott et al. 2014, 2019
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hal-03703972 , version 1 (24-06-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03703972 , version 1


Mario Lepage, Cécile Capderrey, Michael Elliott, Patrick Meire. Estuarine Degradation and Rehabilitation. Whitfield, A.K.; Able, K.W.; Blaber, J.M.; Elliott, M. Fish and Fisheries in Estuaries : A global perspective, Wiley, Chapter 8, 2022, 978-1-119-70535-2. ⟨hal-03703972⟩


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