Marine Fish Assemblages Associated with Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs): Effects of Fish Removal, FAD Size, Fouling Communities, and Prior Recruits

Journal Article

Title: Marine Fish Assemblages Associated with Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs): Effects of Fish Removal, FAD Size, Fouling Communities, and Prior Recruits
Authors: Nelson, P.
Publication Date:
June 13, 2003
Journal: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 101
Issue: 4
Pages: 835-850
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Nelson, P. (2003). Marine Fish Assemblages Associated with Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs): Effects of Fish Removal, FAD Size, Fouling Communities, and Prior Recruits. Fishery Bulletin, 101(4), 835-850.
Abstract: 

Fishes are widely known to aggregate around floating objects, including flotsam and fish aggregating devices (FADs). The numbers and diversity of juvenile fishes that associated with floating objects in the nearshore waters of the eastern tropical Pacific were recording by using FADs as an experimental tool. The effects of fish removal, FAD size, and the presence or absence of a fouling community at the FAD over a period of days, and the presence of prior recruits over a period of hours were evaluated by using a series of experiments. The removal of FAD-associated fish assemblages had a significant effect on the number of the dominant species (Abudefduf troschelii) in the following day's assemblage compared to FADs where the previous day's assemblage was undisturbed; there was no experimental effect on combined species totals. Fishes do, however, discriminate among floating objects, forming larger, more species-rich assemblages around large FADs compared to small ones. Fishes also formed larger assemblages around FADs possessing a fouling biota versus FADs without a fouling biota, although this effect was also closely tied to temporal factors. FADs enriched with fish accumulated additional recruits more quickly than FADs that were not enriched with fish and therefore the presence of prior recruits had a strong, positive effect on subsequent recruitment. These results suggest that fish recruitment to floating objects is deliberate rather than haphazard or accidental and they support the hypothesis that flotsam plays a role in the interrelationship between environment and some juvenile fishes. These results are relevant to the use of FADs for fisheries, but emphasize that further research is necessary for applied interests.

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