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Assessing fish quality status in transitional waters, within the European Water Framework Directive. Setting boundary classes and responding to anthropogenic responses
Uriarte, A.; Borja, A. (2009). Assessing fish quality status in transitional waters, within the European Water Framework Directive. Setting boundary classes and responding to anthropogenic responses. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 82(2): 214-224. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2009.01.008
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 280268 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Anthropogenic factors; Ecology; Indicators; Oxygen; Quality; Vertebrae; Pisces [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    anthropogenic pressures; indicators; fishes; ecological status; oxygen; Water Framework Directive (WFD); Basque Country

Authors  Top 
  • Uriarte, A.
  • Borja, A., more

Abstract
    Validation of the AZTI's Fish Index (AFI), proposed for the Basque Country (northern Spain), in assessing fish quality within the Water Framework Directive (WFD), is undertaken. The response to anthropogenic pressure is investigated, in setting the boundaries between the different quality status classes. Hence, 12 estuaries were sampled, at different frequencies, between 1989 and 2007, by means of a beam trawl. Significant (p < 0.0001) correlations were found between the AFI and oxygen saturation and ammonia. Oxygen quality standards are used to set boundaries between quality classes. Then, the AFIs obtained are compared with different anthropogenic pressures, including urban and industrial discharges, engineering works and dredging. The effects of the removal of some of these pressures are also studied. The total number of pressures within an estuary shows significant (p < 0.009) negative correlation with AFI, explaining between 51 and 62% of the variability in fish quality. The impact of pressures upon fish and demersal assemblages is detected as required by the WFD. Nonetheless, further investigation and intercalibration of the methods used, are necessary.

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