Glossary of Terms

Anoxic or Hypoxic:
Conditions: Lack of, or little oxygen present as a result of eutrophication. Fish and shellfish can not live in habitats under these conditions.

Biodiversity:
Can be defined as the variety of species in a habitat. A decrease in biodiversity can increase competition for food. Interfering with the natural balance of the habitat.


Buffer Zones:
Consist of vegetation which filter pollutants and other natural or introduced contaminants from our coastal zones. The terrestrial or sub-aquatic vegetation in these buffer zones can act both as a nursery and cleaning/filtering agent in fish habitats.

Bycatch:
Fish and other marine life caught incidentally while fishing for something else. Bycatch is usually thrown back into the sea as a waste product even if it is commercially valuable.

Dredging and Filling:
The mechanical removal or addition of sediment from the bottom of canals, rivers, or harbors.

Erosion:
The displacement of land due to human activities such as coastal development, or naturally occurring events such as storms and wave action.

Eutrophication:
Nutrients (such as fertilizers, sewage, or livestock run-off) stimulate the growth of algae. These algal growth spurts, or blooms, soon die off due to lack of food. Bacteria decomposes the dead algae, but consumes large supplies of oxygen in the process. The result Is a lack of oxygen for other organisms in the habitat causing marine life to choke or flee from their habitat.

Fish Habitat:
The structural component of the environment on which fish depend for feeding, breeding, and growth to maturity. These environments include waters from freshwater rivers and streams to saltwater seas.

Examples of Fish Habitat



Mangroves provide habitat for an estimated 75% of Florida's game fish and 90% of it's commercial fish.

Coral Reefs occupy only 0.07 percent of the ocean floor, but are home to as many as one quarter of the world's marine species.

Kelp Forests provide food and shelter for over 800 species of marine life.

Sea Grass Beds are habitat for juvenile fish, crustaceans, and shellfish, as well as filter the water of sediments and release oxygen.

Rocky Bottom is home for Pacific rockfish, a species who spends their 100+ year lifespan occupying one habitat!

Pelagic Zones (Open Ocean ) are home to some of our largest fish species including Tuna and Swordfish.

Habitat Loss:
Many human factors contribute to habitat loss. Our actions either adversely affect fish habitat, or speed up the frequency of natural events such as storms and disease. Overfishing and bycatch also play a large role by reducing the biodiversity in a habitat.

Invasive species:
Species not native to a habitat. Introduced species which may out compete the native species for food causing those species to die off or flee from the area.

Non-point source pollution:
Pollutants not discharged into receiving waters through pipes (i.e. nutrients, sediments, toxins and pathogens). These may include agricultural, urban or construction site runoff, acid rain, or from groundwater sources.

Sedimentation:
Includes the seftling of disturbed soil and sand particles. As a result, sub-aquatic vegetation and marine life (including fish) can be smothered.

Sub-Aquatic Vegetation:
Is any type of underwater plant life. This can include plants that are partially submerged, such as mangroves, or totally submerged such as kelp and seagrass.

Turbidity:
Suspended soil or sand particles stirred up from fishing operations, boat props, dredging, onshore land disturbances, or other human activities. Turbidity reduces water quality and can inhibit the food production of plants, plankton, and other food sources for fish.
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