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Estimating global biomass and biogeochemical cycling of marine fish with and without fishing
Bianchi, D.; Carozza, D.A.; Galbraith, E.D.; Guiet, J.; DeVries, T. (2021). Estimating global biomass and biogeochemical cycling of marine fish with and without fishing. Science Advances 7(41): eabd7554. https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abd7554
In: Science Advances. AAAS: New York. ISSN 2375-2548, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Bianchi, D.
  • Carozza, D.A.
  • Galbraith, E.D.
  • Guiet, J.
  • DeVries, T.

Abstract
    The biomass and biogeochemical roles of fish in the ocean are ecologically important but poorly known. Here, we use a data-constrained marine ecosystem model to provide a first-order estimate of the historical reduction of fish biomass due to fishing and the associated change in biogeochemical cycling rates. The pre-exploitation global biomass of exploited fish (10 g to 100 kg) was 3.3 ± 0.5 Gt, cycling roughly 2% of global primary production (9.4 ± 1.6 Gt year−1) and producing 10% of surface biological export. Particulate organic matter produced by exploited fish drove roughly 10% of the oxygen consumption and biological carbon storage at depth. By the 1990s, biomass and cycling rates had been reduced by nearly half, suggesting that the biogeochemical impact of fisheries has been comparable to that of anthropogenic climate change. Our results highlight the importance of developing a better mechanistic understanding of how fish alter ocean biogeochemistry.

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