Effects of an Unusual Cold-Water Intrusion in 2008 on the Catch of Coastal Fishing Methods around Penghu Islands, Taiwan


Based upon long-term observations (1993 - 2010) of satellite-derived winter sea surface temperature (SST) data, an exceptional cold-water intrusion into the southern Taiwan Strait (TS) was noted in February 2008. In the winter of 2008, La Niña caused a strong and continuous northeasterly wind that drove the cold ocean current, the China Coastal Current, more southward to penetrate the southern TS north of the Chang-Yuen Ridge. A portion of this current turned eastward to the south of Penghu Islands (PHI). The low-SST event significantly impeded local marine aquaculture and wild fish, causing the death of more than 73 tons of fish around PHI. Comparing variations of the first quarterly catches in 2008 with the long-term averages from 1993 to 2010 (excluding 2008), we noted a 50 to 80% decrease in catches from pole-and-line, long-line, and gill-net fishery. Non-migratory species dominated the composition of the catches. We also noted a greater than 230% increase in the catches from set-net fishery, with the majority being migratory species. These results illustrate the positive and negative effects of cold-water intrusion on several fish communities and species.

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