Beach seine fish survey along the coast of Newfoundland from 1960-1964 (Fleming Survey) and from 1992-1996 (Resurrected Fleming Survey)


The collapse of the Northwest Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks in the early 1990s led to widespread ecological changes offshore. Changes in coastal fish communities are less known, largely due to the lack of historical records and long-term, standardized research surveys in coastal ecosystems. We aimed to overcome this with a unique dataset known as the Fleming survey. From 1959 to 1964, a systematic beach-seine survey was conducted to examine juvenile cod abundance in 84 bays (42 of which were consistently sampled and therefore analysed) along the east coast of Newfoundland. In addition to cod, all other fish collected in the seines were recorded. These surveys were repeated from 1992 to 1996 after the cod collapse, and document a substantial reduction in a dominant inshore species - juvenile Atlantic cod. We show that total fish abundance declined significantly with the decrease of cod, whereas Shannon diversity and species evenness significantly increased. Species richness increased in some regions but decreased in others. We also found significant changes in the composition of the fish community likely due to a combination of release from predation from fewer large cod feeding in inshore areas as well as a release from competition from fewer juvenile cod occupying the coastal habitat. Region and the presence of vegetated habitats also significantly influenced the fish community. This study shows a strong reorganization of coastal fish communities after a large-scale fisheries collapse with implications for ecosystem-based and cross-ecosystem management.

Supplement to: McCain, James Scott Patrick; Cull, Daneen J; Schneider, David C; Lotze, Heike K (2016): Long-term shift in coastal fish communities before and after the collapse of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(5), 1415-1426

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Metadata Access
Creator McCain, James Scott Patrick
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2017
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 12675 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-56.165W, 46.752S, -53.188E, 49.697N); Newfoundland
Temporal Coverage Begin 1960-01-01T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 1996-01-01T00:00:00Z