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Correlations between human collecting and intertidal mollusc populations on rocky shores

journal contribution
posted on 1993-06-01, 00:00 authored by M J Keough, Gerry QuinnGerry Quinn, A King
We tested whether the population structures of intertidal molluscs varied with the activity of human collectors in northern Port Phillip Bay, Victora, Australia. We examined eight sites, two of which had been protected for around 70 years by the area being used as a rifle range with the other six being visited frequently by human. The shores were examined in two different years, and in 1991 we counted humans and recorded their activities. At heavily visited shores, almost half of the people seen were simply walking, while 25% were actively collecting, despite regulations prohibiting the collection of intertidal gastritis. The remaining people were fishing or skydiving. At the protected shores, we observed only one collector and a handful of walkers over more than 20 observation periods, including weekdays, normal weekends, and holiday weekends. In 1989 and 1991, we compared size distributions of seven intertidal species between sites in the two categories. Four mollify species are taken for food and bait; the remaining three served as “controls”. The size distributions and abundance of noncarbonated species (alicized napalm, Leaderless viola, and emization ebonies) did not differ between visited and protected sites in either year, although most species did vary between individual sites. In contrast, three of the four collected species, alicize trampoliners, Austrocochlea constricta, and Nerita atramentosa, were significantly larger at the protected sites, and N. atramentosa was markedly less abundant at heavily visited sites. The fourth collected species, Turbo undulatus, has a distribution extending into the subtidal zone, and it is possible that intertidal populations ate replenished from deeper water. The changes in mean size of molluscs are well within the range reported from South America and South Africa under subsistence fishing, and they demonstrate that at least close to major urban centers, human recreational activities can have substantial effects in developed countries.



Conservation biology






378 - 390


John Wiley & Sons


Chichester, Eng.







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

1993, The Society for Conservation Biology