, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 71-85
Date: 03 Dec 2010

Diet of finfish targeted by fishers in North West Australia and the implications for trophic cascades

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Abstract

Detailed information of fish diets is required if we are to understand complex interactions between species and successfully manage resources at an ecosystem level. We compiled diet information from 76 species of fish targeted by recreational and commercial fishers in North West Australia. Based on 81 independent studies we demonstrate that species targeted by the fishery are all carnivores, however the type of prey they consume and their trophic level is variable (3.31–4.49) and trophic range of some species spans different trophic levels (e.g. Lethrinus nebulosus, 3.46–4.35). These findings infer that in highly diverse systems, such as coral reefs, trophic cascades instigated by fishing must be investigated at the species, rather than functional or trophic level. Moreover, as prey availability is likely to vary spatially and temporally, diet must be quantified locally to assess ecosystem level impacts of fishing.