Trophic assessment in Chinese coastal systems - Review of methods and application to the Changjiang (Yangtze) Estuary and Jiaozhou Bay

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Coastal eutrophication has become one of the main threats to Chinese coastal areas during the last two decades. High nutrient loads from human activities have modified the natural background water quality in coastal water bodies, resulting in a range of undesirable effects. There is a need to assess the eutrophic level in coastal systems and to identify the extent of this impact to guide development of appropriate management efforts. Traditional Chinese assessment methods are discussed and compared with other currently-used methods, such as the Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the North Sea (OSPAR) Comprehensive Procedure and Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status (ASSETS). The ASSETS method and two Chinese methods were tested on two Chinese systems: the Changjiang (Yangtze) Estuary and Jiaozhou Bay. ASSETS is process based, and uses a pressure-state-response model based on three main indices: Influencing Factors, Overall Eutrophic Condition, and Future Outlook. The traditional methods are based on a nutrient index. ASSETS was successfully applied to both systems, classifying the Changjiang Estuary as Bad (high eutrophication) and Jiaozhou Bay as High (low eutrophication). The traditional methods led to ambiguous results, particularly for Jiaozhou Bay, due to the high spatial variability of data and a failure to assess the role of shellfish aquaculture in nutrient control. An overview of the Chinese coastal zone identifies 50 estuaries and bays that should form part of a national assessment. A comparison of methods and results suggests that ASSETS is a promising tool for evaluating the eutrophication status of these systems.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)901-918
JournalEstuaries And Coasts
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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