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Fish diversity associated with gas platforms Evaluation of two underwater visual census techniques Diversidad ictica asociada con plataformas gaseras Evaluacion de dos tecnicas de censos visuales

Fish diversity associated with gas platforms Evaluation of two underwater visual census techniques Diversidad ictica asociada con plataformas gaseras Evaluacion de dos tecnicas de censos visuales

Ciencias Marinas. Junio; 332: 121-132

Fish assemblages associated with offshore platforms were surveyed using two underwater visual census techniques: strip transects and mobile point counts. Data were collected from four depth ranges at three platforms off Crotone, Italy (Ionian Sea). A total of 25 fish species belonging to 12 families were recorded for the three platforms. Significant differences between sampling methods and depth were observed in the fish assemblage structure, species richness and fish abundance. The mean number of species recorded with the strip transect method was always greater than that obtained with mobile point counts, whilst the opposite pattern was observed for mean abundances. Gregarious species such as Boops boops, Chromis chromis, Anthias anthias and Oblada melanura were responsible for most of the differences in the assemblage structure. According to our results, both methods allowed us to observe species that are not usually caught by means of fishing gear. When both census techniques are used, they provide complementary information about the fish assemblages strictly associated with the platform structures.

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