Management and Conservation of Marine Life
Some species of commercial value, mainly pelagic fishes or squids, display fidelity to localized high-productivity fronts. Aggregations of organisms in predictable places facilitate fishing operations; moreover fishermen may easily detect certain kinds of fronts (e.g. thermal fronts) by employing satellite information, improving fisheries’ efficiency. Abundance of some benthic valuable resources (e.g. scallops) increase in fronts as well, forming dense and profitable beds. Species having little or no commercial value also concentrate at fronts; consequently, interactions between fisheries and vulnerable or endangered species are amplified at fronts: high bycatch rates of large pelagic sharks, sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds characterize some fronts. Fronts also exhibit a potential to concentrate several types of pollutants (e.g. plastics; oil; heavy metals) at their surface convergence and in sediments, thus endangering species that make use of the fronts. Because of potential dangers for marine life, fronts may be considered as valuable candidates for the implementation of protected areas. The ocean’s storage of carbon and ability to regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide is crucially dependent on primary production. Although high phytoplankton standing stocks do not necessarily imply CO2 sequestration, it has been shown that at least some fronts do present this type of biogeochemical response. It is expected that climate change will affect several of the physical forcing processes that generate and maintain fronts. Variations in the intensity of such forcing will affect key ecological processes associated with fronts. Because fronts depend on different forcing, it is expected that the impact and speed of climate change will vary among frontal types and geographical regions. Fronts play a significant role in the ecology of seas, and their forcing and properties are likely to change in response to climate change. Thus, it is suggested that fronts would be ideal sites for early monitoring and assessment of the dynamics of global state variables.