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Can the effects of anthropogenic pressures and environmental variability on nekton fauna be detected in fishery data? Insights from the monitoring of the artisanal fishery within the Venice lagoon

Zucchetta, M.; Scapin, L.; Cavraro, F.; Pranovi, F.; Franco, A.; Franzoi, P.


Nekton communities in transitional ecosystems are naturally adapted to stressful conditions associated with high environmental variability. Human activities in these systems are likely to determine additional stress with a possible effect on fish fauna, hence on fisheries. In order to test the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic factors in determining changes in nekton community, catches (incl. bycatch) from artisanal fisheries (fyke nets) were monitored seasonally in different areas of the Venice lagoon (Italy) between 2001 and 2013. Changes in nekton community composition and in the biomass of target and non-target species/groups were analysed, and the results were related to temporal factors, environmental characteristics and to the variability in anthropogenic pressures. Statistical tests were carried out using a model-based analysis of both univariate and multivariate data. Results highlighted that temporal factors and environmental conditions (i.e. the main chemico-physical descriptors) are more relevant than anthropogenic pressures in explaining spatial and temporal changes in the lagoon nekton assemblage, but that several characteristics of the assemblage, in particular the biomass of some particular categories and of the whole assemblage, are sensitive to human impacts. A particularly negligible effect seemed to be associated with fishing effort, thus suggesting that the monitoring of the local artisanal fishery is suitable also to provide useful information on the evaluation of the status of nekton assemblage.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2016-07
Journal Estuaries and coasts
Print ISSN 1559-2723
Electronic ISSN 1559-2731
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 4
Pages 1164-1182
Keywords Nekton assemblage, Ecological quality, Artisinal fishery, Anthropogenic pressures, Transitional waters, Venice lagoon (Italy)
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Copyright Statement ©2017 University of Hull

This is the accepted version of an article published at the DOI link.
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of an article published in Estuaries and coasts, 2016, v.39, issue 4. The final publication is available at Springer via


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