Ecosystem Modelling: A tool for sustainable regional development in the Clarence Estuary
Governments and resource managers have generally accepted the importance of active and effective management of aquatic resources. This has lead many governments to adopt policies of sustainable ecosystem-based resource management within their jurisdictions, which has motivated the development of a diverse range of scientific tools. One of the tools being utilised is the ecosystem model Atlantis (Fulton et al. 2004). This paper describes the initial application of Atlantis as a tool for exploring various impacts (including sewage treatment plants, industrial waste, multispecies commercial fisheries and recreational angling) on aquatic ecosystems in the Clarence estuary. We also use the model to evaluate management strategies for achieving conservation goals and sustainable use of natural resources (e.g., spatial zoning and fishing closures). While Atlantis has been applied to a significant number of continental shelf and offshore regional systems, coastal applications have been restricted to major bays in Victoria (Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay). Our presentation will focus on the implementation of the model to the Clarence estuary region including initial results from applying the model to the large estuarine system, where freshwater and other inputs from a largely agricultural catchment play a key role in the dynamics.
Fulton, E.A. and Smith A.D.M. (2004) Lessons learnt from a comparison of three ecosystem models for Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Ecosystems approaches to fisheries in the Southern Benguela African Journal of Marine Science. 26: 219-243.