Wed, Jun 12, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Typhoons improve fishing areas: COA research unit

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Typhoons could improve marine primary production in an area, turning it into a better fishing area, the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Research Institute said yesterday.

The institute last year monitored the environments of fishing grounds surrounding Taiwan.

It was able to collect data last year from five stations in the nation’s southwestern sea waters before and after two typhoons -— Typhoon Tembin and Typhoon Bolaven.

It discovered that typhoons stir nutrients in the water, bringing them to the ocean’s surface and stimulating the growth of marine phytoplankton, turning inorganic compounds in the water into organic compounds and increasing the marine primary production in the area.

It said that the marine phytoplankton growing near the surface of the ocean often lacks sufficient nutrient salts to improve growth, but there is abundant nutrient salts at the bottom of the ocean.

The extreme weather conditions brought on by typhoons work as an important mechanism for bringing the nutrients up to the water’s surface, creating good fisheries, the institute said.

Data collected by the institute showed that the level of nutrient salts and chlorophyll near the sea surface dramatically increased after a typhoon.

In addition, the level of nitrate, phosphate and silicate increased by about 1.83, 1.31 and 1.55 times respectively, compared with the levels before the typhoon.

Moreover, the composition of marine phytoplankton changed after a typhoon and plant communities increased in size, it said.

It adding that this was because the smaller and larger types of marine phytoplankton have different nutrient intake strategies, thus the larger species tend to grow faster in nutrient-rich environments.

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