Original Research

Notes on a remotely operated vehicle survey to describe reef ichthyofauna and habitats – Agulhas Bank, South Africa

Mapula S. Makwela, Sven E. Kerwath, Albrecht Götz, Kerry Sink, Toufiek Samaai, Christopher G Wilke
Bothalia | Vol 46, No 1 | a2108 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v46i1.2108 | © 2016 Mapula S. Makwela, Sven E. Kerwath, Albrecht Götz, Kerry Sink, Toufiek Samaai, Christopher G Wilke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2016 | Published: 03 December 2016

About the author(s)

Mapula S. Makwela, Fisheries Research and Development, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,Roggebaai, South Africa
Sven E. Kerwath, Fisheries Research and Development, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Roggebaai, South Africa and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa
Albrecht Götz, Elwandle Node, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Grahamstown, South Africa and Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa and Zoology Department, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Kerry Sink, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Claremont, South Africa
Toufiek Samaai, Department of Environmental Affairs, Oceans and Coasts, Chief Directorate, Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa and Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Christopher G Wilke, Fisheries Research and Development, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Roggebaai, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Despite their ecological and economic importance, reef habitats on the central Agulhas Bank, off the southern tip of Africa, remain poorly studied. The ichthyofauna of these habitats cannot be surveyed using trawl gear.
Objective: Preliminary assessment of the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to investigate the ichthyofauna associated with deep reef habitats on the central Agulhas Bank.
Method: Underwater visual surveys were carried out during ROV dives (maximum duration 60 minutes; area covered approximately 800 m2; maximum dive depth 100 m).
Results & discussion: The number of detected fish species (36) compares well with that reported from fishing surveys and commercial fisher data. Most (68%) fishes appeared to be undisturbed by the ROV. Species saturation was reached after a maximum of 135 minutes survey time, but species numbers increased and saturation times shortened (34 minutes minimum) with the introduction of bait.
Conclusion:  ROV surveys may represent a non-extractive alternative to assess demersal ichthyofaunal diversity in relation to habitat structure and benthic cover on temperate reefs around South Africa.

Keywords

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV); marine biodiversity, temperate reef habitat; line fishery; ichthyofauna; South Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. A Systematic Review of Remotely Operated Vehicle Surveys for Visually Assessing Fish Assemblages
Darryn Sward, Jacquomo Monk, Neville Barrett
Frontiers in Marine Science  vol: 6  year: 2019  
doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00134