Deep-sea sur­vey

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ Re­searchers from Parks and Wildlife and the Univer­sity of WA re­cently com­pleted a 10-day field sur­vey of the deeper-wa­ter fish com­mu­ni­ties of the Nin­ga­loo Marine Park.

Us­ing a tech­nique known as Baited Re­mote Un­der­wa­ter stereo-Video, re­searchers sur­veyed fish com­mu­ni­ties with more than 400 baited cam­era sys­tems dropped at 40-60m be­low sea level.

DPaW re­search sci­en­tist Tom Holmes said it was the sec­ond deep-wa­ter sur­vey un­der­taken since 2013 that fo­cused on the pres­sures faced by fish com­mu­ni­ties at Nin­ga­loo.

“We can mon­i­tor shal­low wa­ters on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with scuba gear; how­ever, most of the marine park is in deeper wa­ters which re­quires the use of the BRUV sys­tem ev­ery two to four years,” he said.

“At Nin­ga­loo we need to keep a tab on recre­ational fish­ing pres­sure and habi­tat change, as a lot of recre­ational fish­ing has moved off­shore into deeper wa­ters.

“We have a sanc­tu­ary zone in place and this study will help us gauge how ef­fec­tive these sanc­tu­ar­ies are at pro­tect­ing the more mo­bile fish in deeper wa­ters.”

Mr Holmes said the data col­lected would be an­a­lysed and used as part of on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams in the re­gion.

“From the videos we col­lected we can a rel­a­tive mea­sure of the num­ber of fish in the frame and com­pare this with data col­lected in the fu­ture,” he said.

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