Seagrass valuation from fish abundance, biomass and recreational catch

Holger Jänes, Paul Carnell, Mary Young, Daniel Ierodiaconou, Gregory P. Jenkins, Paul Hamer, Philine S.e. Zu Ermgassen, Jonathan R. Gair, Peter I. Macreadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The value of critical habitats, such as seagrass, to act as a nursery varies spatially and temporally; however, such information is essential for the public and stakeholders to appropriately value and manage these habitats. We use an existing systematic long-term fisheries dataset in Port Phillip Bay to examine variability in nursery habitat value for an important commercial and recreational species, King George Whiting (Sillaginodes punctatus). Port Phillip Bay represents one of the most important marine assets in the southern hemisphere and is surrounded by the second-largest city in Australia, Melbourne, home to 4.5 million people. We modelled the abundance of King George whiting as a function of environmental variables, using Boosted Regression Trees (BRT). Fish densities ranged from 1,000 to 30,000 individuals ha−1y−1, equalling an adult biomass of 110–3,300 kg ha−1y−1. This production supports between 69 and 2,062 recreational fishing trips a year, with an estimated value of seagrass of AUD 687–20,625 ha−1y−1. Based on biomass production of King George Whiting and recreational fisheries data, the 6662 ha of seagrass in Port Phillip Bay are valued at around AUD 36 million annually.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108097
JournalEcological Indicators
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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