Journal of applied ichthyology vol:21 issue:2 pages:86-93
Fish collections on the cooling water filter screens of the Doel power plant were used to analyse temporal trends in estuarine fish populations of the upper Scheldt estuary, Belgium. Between 1991 and 2001, 62 species shared the estuary, with 15 species present at any one time. Identified were 23 marine stragglers, 16 freshwater species and four diadromous species, but their contribution to the total catch was insignificant. In terms of numbers, marine estuarine opportunists (17 species) mainly occurring as juveniles and estuarine residents (two species) were the dominant life cycle categories. Six fish species contributed to > 97% of the total catch: three Pomatoschistus species [P. minutus (32%), P. microps (30%) and P. lozanoi (6%)], two Clupeidae [Clupea harengus (16%) and Sprattus sprattus (8%)] and Syngnathus rostellatus (5%). Abundance of almost all species in the estuary was highly seasonal and characterized by pronounced abundance peaks. Ordination of the data showed that variability in the temporal structure of estuarine fish community was first determined by differences in annual recruitment and then by predictable, cyclical patterns of species abundance.