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Effects of climate variability and climate change on the fishing conditions for grey mullet (Mugil cephalus L.) in the Taiwan Strait

Lan, Kuo-Wei, Lee, Ming-An, Zhang, Chang Ik, Wang, Pei-Yuan, Wu, Long-Jing, Lee, Kuo-Tien
Climatic change 2014 v.126 no.1-2 pp. 189-202
Mugil cephalus, climate, climate change, fish, fisheries, fishery resources, migratory behavior, temperature, wavelet, winter, Taiwan
Grey mullet (Mugil cephalus L.) is one of the most important commercial species of fish in the coastal fisheries of Taiwan. In this study, we analyzed the long-term (1967–2009) records of grey mullet catch per unit effort (CPUE) in the Taiwan Strait (TS) to investigate the influences of climatic indices on the annual catch of grey mullet at multiple timescales. A wavelet analysis revealed that variations in climatic indices, namely the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the Oceanic Niño Index, and sea surface temperatures (SSTs) might have affected the abundance and migration behavior of grey mullet in the TS in winter. The CPUE of grey mullet showed significant high correspondence with the annual PDO index (R ² =0.82, p <0.01). The results suggested that the PDO affects the migration of grey mullet, but that increases in SSTs are a more important influence on the decreased catches of grey mullet after 1980. Mean SSTs increased 1.01 °C at the Chang-Yuen Rise in the TS from 1984 to 2009. The 20 °C isotherms in the TS in the winter also shifted from 23–24°N in 1958–1978 to north of 25°N after 1998. The fishing grounds of grey mullet also shifted to the north following changes in the 20 °C isotherm in the TS.