Large fish of U.S. coastal waters

hand holding a group of softshell clams - photo credit: Casco Bay Estuary PartnershipAn estuary is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meets and mixes with salt water from the ocean. Estuaries and the lands surrounding them are places of transition from land to sea and freshwater to salt water. Although influenced by the tides, they are protected from the full force of ocean waves, winds, and storms by such land forms as barrier islands or peninsulas.

Estuarine environments are among the most productive on earth, creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland, or agricultural land. The tidal, sheltered waters of estuaries also support unique communities of plants and animals especially adapted for life at the margin of the sea.

Many different habitat types are found in and around estuaries, including shallow open waters, freshwater and salt marshes, swamps, sandy beaches, mud and sand flats, rocky shores, oyster reefs, mangrove forests, river deltas, tidal pools, and seagrasses.

Why are Estuaries Important?

Ariel Photo of an estuary - photo credit: Marc Hinz Photo Credit: Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Estuaries provide us with a suite of resources, benefits, and services. Some of these can be measured in dollars and cents, others cannot. Estuaries provide places for recreational activities, scientific study, and aesthetic enjoyment. Estuaries are an irreplaceable natural resource that must be managed carefully for the mutual benefit of all who enjoy and depend on them.

semi-dense waterside community - photo credit: Stephan GershThousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on estuarine habitats as places to live, feed, and reproduce. And many marine organisms, including most commercially-important species of fish, depend on estuaries at some point during their development. Because they are biologically productive, estuaries provide ideal areas for migratory birds to rest and re-fuel during their long journeys. Because many species of fish and wildlife rely on the sheltered waters of estuaries as protected spawning places, estuaries are often called the "nurseries of the sea."

woman holding a large fish out of the water - photo credit: Nanette O'Hara dense waterside community - photo credit: Maryland Coastal Bays Program

Fish farming shouldnt be outlawed

2006-11-02 18:00:34 by ikkyu

There's forward progress in farming. one that's being used is large cages in the pelagic ocean rather than the more high density coastal pens. hawaiian moi is being farmed like that as are some salmon off the pacific northwest.
we really have no option but to go fwd and better manage the fish farms. wild populations cannot sustain the current fishing practices or catch quantities.
i just saw a sign in the window of whole foods th' other day. it seems chilean sea bass is off the danger list. how long d'you think before it's over fished again due to it's popularity?


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