Mudflat Fishing

  • Peter G. BeningerEmail author
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 7)


Mudflat fishing is certainly one of the oldest human activities, and it probably contributed heavily to both our cognitive development and the settlement pattern of human populations still evident today. It is characterized by simple gear for raking or digging, individual effort, relatively small catches, and micro-regulation. It may be divided into two broad categories: professional fishing (catches are sold) and recreational/subsistence fishing (catches are not sold). The recreational fishery may be likened to the sport fishing industry, in that the economic impact of mudflat fishing includes a substantial tourism component. Although difficult to evaluate precisely, methods used in the tourism and sport fishing industries allow ball-park evaluations of the economic impact of recreational mudflat fishing in developed countries.

Environmental impacts of mudflat fishing include resource depletion, as well as reduced densities of non-target macrofauna, altered spatial distributions of both macro-and meiofauna, and geochemical modifications in the sediment. Mudflat fishing impacts are likely to be site- and intertidal level-specific, and choice of the appropriate scale of study is problematic. Little attention has been paid to the effects of mudflat fishing on high-profile, declining species such as shorebirds, and this is an urgent research need. Given the long history of mudflat fishing, the system seems to have been relatively resilient up to the present time; this may change in the face of increased pressure from an exponentially-increasing world population.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie Marine, MMS, Faculté des SciencesUniversité de NantesNantesFrance

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