Global Warming: Effects of Sea Level Rise on Shrimp Fisheries

Zimmerman, Roger J.
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U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Galveston Laboratory

Sea level rise from global warming will first increase and then decrease shrimp fisheries through modification of wetland habitats. Sea level rise effects on wetland-dependent shrimp production can be predicted by modelling coastal systems with differing rates of submergence. Subsidence in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico reproduces effects of sea level rise on the relationship between wetland change and shrimp productivity. Sea level induced changes to shrimp fisheries will be modified regionally according to differences in wetland types, tides, and geology. If sea level rise accelerates, landings of east coast shrimp and other estuarine-dependent species are predicted to follow a pattern of increases similar to those seen in the subsiding NW Gulf. Both regions eventually decline in estuarine-dependent fisheries production due to habitat loss. These observations have relevance to estuarine systems world wide, meriting investigation both from ecosystems adn human impacts perspective.

pgs. 58-73
shrimp fisheries, habitat loss, Greenhouse effect, sea level changes, subsidence