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The State of the Bay Galveston Bay Area Project

Coastal Fisheries

Galveston Bay and its watershed are home to a diverse array of organisms. Fish and wildlife resources provide some of the area’s greatest economic, recreational, and aesthetic assets. These organisms also serve as useful indicators of the overall condition of the watershed and estuary. Therefore, considerable scientific and management resources are devoted to studying these populations.

Coastal fisheries populations can be impacted by a number of human actions including commercial and recreational fishing, coastal development, dredge and fill activities, and climate change. Fishing pressure results in the direct removal of species as well as unintended consequences of bycatch and angler-induced mortality. Coastal development can introduce nutrients (e.g., phosphates and nitrates) and pollutants (e.g., dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs) to estuarine waters, sediments, and bay food webs and, along with dredge and fill activities, may directly remove important nursery habitats such as fringing marshes and seagrass beds. Climate change may result in altered freshwater inflows and salinity regimes, increasing water temperatures, and increased frequency and intensity of coastal storms.

With all of these stresses being placed on coastal fisheries, it is important to monitor them to determine whether populations are increasing or decreasing and whether management actions may be necessary. Scientific monitoring of these biological resources is conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Along with fisheries-dependent commercial and recreational harvest data (i.e., landings data) , fisheries-independent data are used to assess population trends in organisms. These collections also play an important role in the effort to manage freshwater inflows to ensure a sound ecological environment for Texas' bays and estuaries.

The Galveston Bay Status and Trends Project obtains the coastal fisheries resource data from the TPWD on an annual basis to analyze population trends for fish species collected in bag seine, shrimp trawl, gill net, and oyster dredge collections.  Please visit the Data Portal and Mappling Application to explore this data.


Related Pages:

Data Portal and Mapping Application


Enter the Galveston Bay Fisheries Data Portal


Open the Galveston Bay Fisheries Mapping Application
Thumbnail image of Texas Coastal Fisheries Mapping Application from NBII

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