Ecosystem Connections: Watershed Health, Anadromous Species, and Ocean Production
This symposium will build on the growing body of knowledge documenting the importance of healthy coastal watersheds in supporting ocean populations of highly valued fish stocks. Our goal is to investigate those connections, using anadromous fish as primary integrators for ecological and economic benefits. Two symposia at AFS 2012 connected land, water, forage, and fisheries. In 2013, we will delve further by focusing on how specific riverine and estuarine stocks support important offshore populations. Our objective is to link science and management, with those working on either side of the issues offering their contributions to a robust dialog. Those connections will clarify future actions to strengthen the collective efforts of AFS members and meeting participants as they strive to make solid decisions affecting living resources.
Food chains are among the most visible and tenuous measures of ecosystem health. Healthy and productive populations of river herring, shad, and other diadromous species are crucial for productive stocks of offshore fish species. More specifically, sufficient riverine and estuarine habitat will support diadromous species that are integral to healthy ocean populations of valued species pursued by commercial and recreational fishers along all coasts. Comparable ecological and economic connections occur within estuaries, where resident finfish such as menhaden and structure-framing shellfish such as oysters provide similar benefits to species such as striped bass and bluefish.
Presentations by experts from all sides of this timely issue will help us understand the ecological and economic links between coastal watersheds and our oceans. Twelve speakers are confirmed; others have been contacted but remain unconfirmed at this stage. This symposium will provide great benefit to AFS units and members. We’ve received pledges of support from: Estuaries Section, Marine Fisheries Section, Fish Habitat Section, and Bioengineering Section.