Volume 57

Integrating GIS with Fishery Survey Historical Data : A Possible Tool for Designing Marine Protected Areas

Rowe, J.J.; Sedberry, G.R.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 9-30

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Seventh Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


Spatial patterns in the abundance, biomass, and diversity of fishes caught on the continental shelf and upper slope off the southeastern United States Atlantic coast were described from a fishery-independent trawl survey conducted from 1973 - 1980. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis revealed that relative abundance and biomass of fishes caught in depths from 11 - 360 m were significantly higher between coastal and shelf break (11-140 m) waters than in deeper off-shelf zones, and fish abundance was significantly higher off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina than farther south off the coast of Georgia and northern Florida. The highest levels of diversity occurred in shelf-edge and upper slope waters (41 - 120 m), and two diversity indices, Shannon Wiener Index and Margalef’s species richness, were positively correlated with the presence of hard bottom habitat and reported reef fish spawning locations. The analyses revealed areas of particularly high fish biomass, abundance, and diversity that should be given consideration as marine protected areas for deep reef species that are not effectively managed by traditional means.

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