The coastal areas are considered important nursery areas for a number of commercial fish species. Recent analyses have shown that traditional nursery areas such as the Wadden Sea have lost part of this function. One of the main determinants of the quality of a nursery habitat is the potential for fish to grow here relatively fast. In this project we propose to apply a method commonly used in fish biology to determine the quality of nursery areas: RNA/DNA ratios in fish tissue to our coastal survey.
Sand nourishments take place at a large scale all along the Dutch coast in precisely these nursery areas. However, the effect of such large scale sand nourishments on the living circumstances for juvenile fish is yet unknown. In June 2017 we will carry out a large sampling campaign in which we investigate the presence of flatfish. We also want to measure the quality of different areas in terms of how well fish can grow there. For this purpose we will measure growth rate in the different areas based on RNA/DNA ratios in fish muscle tissue.