The effects of freshwater regulation and diversion on the adult and larval stages of fish and invertebrates in coastal marine waters are reviewed.

Potential impacts of river modification are highlighted based on our present understanding of the role of fresh water on the physical, chemical and biological processes on the marine environment. These include effects on migration patterns, spawning habitat, species diversity, water quality and distribution and production of lower trophic levels. The effect of dams on anadromous and catadromous fish are also presented.

We discuss in detail the marine response to specific river regulation projects on the Nile, Indus and rivers flowing into the Black Sea, San Francisco Bay and James Bay in Canada. A decline in some coastal fisheries with an overall negative impact on the biota is generally associated with reductions in freshwater flow.

Extensive ecological considerations are needed during the planning stage of large-scale freshwater modification projects to minimize potential impacts.