Estimating species and size composition of rockfishes to verify targets in acoustic surveys of untrawlable areas

Rooper, Christopher N. and Martin, Michael H. and Butler, John L. and Jones, Darin T. and Zimmermann, Mark (2012) Estimating species and size composition of rockfishes to verify targets in acoustic surveys of untrawlable areas. Fishery Bulletin, 110(3), pp. 317-331.

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Abstract

Rockfish (Sebastes spp.) biomass is difficult to assess with standard bottom trawl or acoustic surveys because of their propensity to aggregate near the seafloor in highrelief areas that are inaccessible to sampling by trawling. We compared the ability of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a modified bottom trawl, and a stereo drop camera system (SDC) to identify rockfish species and estimate their size composition. The ability to discriminate species was highest for the bottom trawl and lowest for the SDC. Mean lengths and size distributions varied among the gear types, although a larger number of length measurements could be collected with the bottom trawl and SDC than with the ROV. Dusky (S. variabilis), harlequin (S. variegatus), and northern rockfish (S. polyspinis), and Pacific ocean perch (S. alutus) were the species observed in greatest abundance. Only dusky and northern rockfish regularly occurred in trawlable areas, whereas these two species and many more occurred in untrawlable areas. The SDC was able to resolve the height of fish off the seafloor, and some of the rockfish species were observed only near the seafloor in the acoustic dead zone. This finding is important, in that fish found exclusively in the acoustic dead zone cannot be assessed acoustically. For these species, methods such as bottom trawls, long-lines, or optical surveys using line transect or area swept methods will be the only adequate means to estimate the abundance of these fishes. Our results suggest that the selection of appropriate methods for verifying targets will depend on the habitat types and species complexes to be examined.

Item Type: Article
Title: Estimating species and size composition of rockfishes to verify targets in acoustic surveys of untrawlable areas
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Rooper, Christopher N.
Martin, Michael H.
Butler, John L.
Jones, Darin T.
Zimmermann, Mark
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 110
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 317-331
Date: 2012
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 8965
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2012 19:11
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2012 19:11
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/8965

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