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Fisheries Science

, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 995–1008 | Cite as

Trophic-level modelling of the coastal waters of the northern Bay of Bengal, West Bengal, India

  • Isha Das
  • Sugata Hazra
  • Sourav Das
  • Sandip Giri
  • Abhra Chanda
  • Sourav Maity
  • Shubhadeep Ghosh
Original Article Biology

Abstract

An ecosystem model was constructed for the northern Bay of Bengal (nBoB) using Ecopath (version 6.4.4). The model covered an area of 18,500 km2. There were 32 functional groups in the model including the non-living group, detritus. Trophic levels (TLs) for individual groups ranged from 1.0 to 4.22. Ecotrophic efficiency for most of the small pelagic fishes was found to be greater than 0.7. For hilsa it was 0.853, indicating high exploitation of this fish within the system. The nBoB was estimated to be a low ascendancy area (~ 19.2%) with a system overhead of 80.8%, which indicates system stability and a certain maturity. The total system throughput and the total primary production/total respiration estimated for the study area indicate that nBoB is a maturing ecosystem. The mean TL of the catch for the study area was 3.115. The results indicate that the nBoB system is still in a developing stage. The low mean TL of the catch indicates fishing practices targeting fish of lower TLs in the system. In the long run, this may cause fishing down the food web, which will eventually lead to declining catches. These results indicate that present fishing practices are unsustainable for the nBoB ecosystem.

Keywords

Trophic models Ecopath Ecosystem maturity Network analysis Unsustainable fishing 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Drs K. Sunil Mohamed and E. Vivekanandan of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochin for their invaluable suggestions. We owe our gratitude to CMFRI, Visakhapatnam, for providing us with the marine fish catch data of West Bengal. This work was financially supported by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (F&A, XII, A1:031), Hyderabad, India, through the Bio Optical Studies and Ecological Modelling in Case—II Water of West Bengal Coast towards Hilsa Fishery Forecast project, for which we are thankful to the Director of INCOIS. The authors also thank the fishermen of Frazerganj and Digha for their selfless cooperation.

Supplementary material

12562_2018_1246_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1169 kb)

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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isha Das
    • 1
  • Sugata Hazra
    • 1
  • Sourav Das
    • 1
  • Sandip Giri
    • 1
  • Abhra Chanda
    • 1
  • Sourav Maity
    • 2
  • Shubhadeep Ghosh
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Oceanographic StudiesJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)HyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of CMFRIVisakhapatnamIndia

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