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- Deepwater habitat and fish resources associated with the Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve,
- Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve (BCER), located off the central California coast, has been closed to fishing since January 1994. We used side scan sonar and an occupied submersible to collect baseline information on species-habitat relationships, density, and species and size composition of fish inside and outside BCER. Forty-three dives were made in the fall of 1997 and 1998, at depths of 20-250 m. From 142 video transects, we identified over 70,000 fish from 82 taxa, including 36 species of rockfish. About 93% of the 25,159 fish inside BCER were rockfishes representing at least 20 species. Young-of-the-year rockfishes dominated rock outcrops in 20-90 m depth inside and outside BCER. Four distinct fish assemblages were associated with (1) fine, smooth sediment in deep water; (2) bedrock with uneven surface in deep water; (3) sand waves and shell hash in shallow water; and (4) boulders and organic habitats on rock in shallow water. There were no significant differences in fish density among locations (inside and outside BCER) and depths or between years. Density was significantly higher in high-relief rock habitat than in low-relief soft and mixed sediments, regardless of location. There were no consistent patterns of larger fish inside compared to outside the protected area. We recommend development of a monitoring program to continue these surveys after increased time of protection and with increased assessment effort in the appropriate habitats of economically valuable species. In addition, extending the boundaries of BCER seaward would protect habitats and fish in water depths greater than 100 m., Cited By (since 1996):18, , , Downloaded from: http://calcofi.org/publications/ccreports.html (05 June 14).
- Yoklavich, Cailliet, Starr, Lea, De Marignac, Greene, Field
- Habitat associations of deep-water rockfishes in a submarine canyon: An example of a natural refuge,
- A multidisciplinary assessment of benthic rockfishes (genus Sebastes) and associated habitats in deep water was conducted in Soquel Submarine Canyon, Monterey Bay, California. Rock habitats at depths to 300 m were identified by using bathymetric and side-scan sonar imaging, verified by visual observations from a manned submersible, mapped and quantified. Species composition, abundance, size, and habitat specificity of fishes were determined by using a video camera and parallel laser system along transects made by a submersible. We counted 6208 nonschooling fishes representing at least 52 species from 83 10-min strip transects that covered an estimated 33,754 m 2. Rockfishes represented 77% of the total number of individuals, and included a minimum of 24 species. Six distinct habitat guilds of fishes were manifest from habitat-based clustering analysis: small species were associated with mud and cobble substrata of low relief, and larger species of rockfishes were associated with high-relief structures such as vertical rock walls, ridges, and boulder fields. There was remarkable concordance between some of the guilds identified in Soquel Canyon and the results of other habitat-specific assessments of fishes along the west coast of the United States from central California to Alaska. These generalities are valuable in predicting community structure and evaluating changes to that structure, as well as in applying small-scale species-habitat relationships to broader-scale fishery resource surveys. Additionally, establishment of these groups is critical when incorporating the concept of essential fish habitat (EFH), and negative impacts to it, into the management of fisheries in relatively deep water, as required by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996. High numbers of large rockfishes (e.g. Sebastes chlorostictus, S. levis, S. rosenbblatti, and S. ruberrimus) were locally associated with rock ledges, caves, and overhangs at sites having little or no evidence of fishing activity. Abundance and size of several species were lower at fished than at unfished sites. We suggest that rock outcrops of high relief interspersed with mud in deep water of narrow submarine canyons are less accessible to fishing activities and thereby can provide natural refuge for economically important fishes, as exemplified in Soquel Canyon., Cited By (since 1996):106, CODEN: FSYBA, ,
- Yoklavich, Greene, Cailliet, Sullivan, Lea, Love