Detecting fish aggregations from reef habitats mapped with high resolution side scan sonar imagery

Rivera, Jose A. and Prada, Martha C. and Arsenault, Jean-Luc and Moody, Gary and Benoit, Nicolas (2006) Detecting fish aggregations from reef habitats mapped with high resolution side scan sonar imagery. In: Emerging technologies for reef fisheries research and management. Seattle, WA, NOAA, pp. 88-104. (NOAA Professional Paper NMFS,5)

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Abstract

As part of a multibeam and side scan sonar (SSS) benthic survey of the Marine Conservation District (MCD) south of St. Thomas, USVI and the seasonal closed areas in St. Croix—Lang Bank (LB) for red hind (Epinephelus guttatus) and the Mutton Snapper (MS) (Lutjanus analis) area—we extracted signals from water column targets that represent individual and aggregated fish over various benthic habitats encountered in the SSS imagery. The survey covered a total of 18 km2 throughout the federal jurisdiction fishery management areas. The complementary set of 28 habitat classification digital maps covered a total of 5,462.3 ha; MCDW (West) accounted for 45% of that area, and MCDE (East) 26%, LB 17%, and MS the remaining 13%. With the exception of MS, corals and gorgonians on consolidated habitats were significantly more abundant than submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) on unconsolidated sediments or unconsolidated sediments. Continuous coral habitat was the most abundant consolidated habitat for both MCDW and MCDE (41% and 43% respectively). Consolidated habitats in LB and MS predominantly consisted of gorgonian plain habitat with 95% and 83% respectively. Coral limestone habitat was more abundant than coral patch habitat; it was found near the shelf break in MS, MCDW, and MCDE. Coral limestone and coral patch habitats only covered LB minimally. The high spatial resolution (0.15 m) of the acquired imagery allowed the detection of differing fish aggregation (FA) types. The largest FA densities were located at MCDW and MCDE over coral communities that occupy up to 70% of the bottom cover. Counts of unidentified swimming objects (USOs), likely representing individual fish, were similar among locations and occurred primarily over sand and shelf edge areas. Fish aggregation school sizes were significantly smaller at MS than the other three locations (MCDW, MCDE, and LB). This study shows the advantages of utilizing SSS in determining fish distributions and density.

Item Type: Book Section
Title: Detecting fish aggregations from reef habitats mapped with high resolution side scan sonar imagery
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Rivera, Jose A.
Prada, Martha C.
Arsenault, Jean-Luc
Moody, Gary
Benoit, Nicolas
Title of Book: Emerging technologies for reef fisheries research and management.
Refereed: Yes
Series Name: NOAA Professional Paper NMFS
Number: 5
Number of Pages: 124
Page Range: pp. 88-104
Date: 2006
Publisher: NOAA
Place of Publication: Seattle, WA
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Ecology
Management
Fisheries
Item ID: 2489
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2009 22:49
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 18:56
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2489

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