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A baited underwater video system for the determination of relative density of carnivorous reef fish

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  • Trevor J Willis
  • Russell C. Babcock
Estimates of the relative density of fishes form the basis of many marine ecological studies as well as the assessment of effects of fishing or pollution. Plasticity in the behavioural response of large reef fishes to SCUBA divers means that commonly used underwater visual census (UVC) techniques do not always provide reliable estimates of relative density. The paper describes the system configuration, deployment methods, testing and use of a remotely deployed baited underwater video (BUV) system for the survey of carnivorous reef fishes (snapper, Pagrus auratus and blue cod,Parapercis colias) in marine reserves of northern New Zealand. Concurrent UVC and BUV surveys inside and outside a marine reserve showed that, whereas UVC detected few snapper in either area (resulting in little confidence in statistically significant results), BUV demonstrated significant differences in relative density. Conversely, blue cod were found to occur at significantly higher densities within the reserve by UVC, but not by BUV. The provision of accurate estimates of fish size (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-763
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Volume51
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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