Volume 71

Comparing Divers and Camera Sled Surveys: An Improvement for Fisheries Independent Data for Queen Conch in Puerto Rico?

Wilmelie Cruz-Marrero;Bradley Stevens;Chelsea Touhy;Richard Appeldoorn
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 292-294

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Queen conch, Lobatus (Strombus) gigas, is one the most important fisheries species in the Caribbean. Currently, harvesting queen conch is prohibited in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Puerto Rico. Abundance estimates in Puerto Rico are conducted by scuba divers at intervals of 3 years, but limited availability of trained divers for conducting surveys has been an obstacle to complete coverage. Diver surveys are also limited by depth and time, whereas camera surveys are not, and provide a permanent photo record of observations. Preliminary results of a study in Puerto Rico showed that surveys conducted with a digital camera sled produced higher estimates of density (#/ha) than diver survey methods, and that measurements obtained using paired lasers were both more accurate and smaller than diver estimates. These results may lead to further applications or development of sled survey techniques, and improved data collection and analysis. Our research could improve the quality of information that can be used for management of queen conch in the Caribbean.

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