, Volume 195, Issue 1, pp 89–103

The forth estuary: a nursery and overwintering area for North Sea fishes


  • M. Elliott
    • Forth River Purification BoardTidal Waters Section
  • M. G. O'Reilly
    • Forth River Purification BoardTidal Waters Section
  • C. J. L. Taylor
    • Forth River Purification BoardTidal Waters Section

DOI: 10.1007/BF00026816

Cite this article as:
Elliott, M., O'Reilly, M.G. & Taylor, C.J.L. Hydrobiologia (1990) 195: 89. doi:10.1007/BF00026816


The fish community of the Forth estuary, Scotland, has several components — estuarine resident species, diadromus migratory species, marine and freshwater adventitious species, marine juvenile migrants using the area as a nursery, and adults of marine species with seasonal migrations. The population changes during the period 1981–1988 in six species representative of the last two categories are described here. The species are the juvenile gadoids, whiting, Merlangius merlangus (L.) and cod, Gadus morhua L., juvenile flatfish, plaice, Pleuronectes platessa L. and common dab, Limanda limanda (L.), and the adult clupeids, sprat, Sprattus sprattus (L.) and herring, Clupea harengus L.

The species' population changes are described in relation to aspects of wider significance such as commercial fishing for these species in North Sea areas. In particular, the underlying decline of the juvenile cod populations since 1981 in the Forth Estuary is discussed in relation to the recent reduction in commercial fishing quotas.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990