Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing

Symposium Abstract: Long-Term, Large-Scale Biological Surveys: A Necessary Component of Fishery and Ecosystem Management

C. Syms

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569605.ch159

Abundance, size, and distribution information is essential for successful fisheries and ecosystem management. Population censuses are rarely possible, so sampling programs must be employed to infer poopulation parameters. Recent advances in marine habitat mapping techniques have generated an interest in shifting from traditional sampling and inference methods toward incorporating habitat maps and fish-habitat associations to increase precision and, hopefully, accuracy of sample estimates. The success of this approach is strongly conditioinal on knowledge of uncertainties in the system. Fish populations and habitat associations are variable in time and space, habitat boundaries are either imprecisely known, or precisely known only over a limited extent. In California, long-term, largescale monitoring of fish populations and habitat variables using annual SCUBA surveys indicates that the primary recourse in the face of these uncertainties is to reduce reliance on habitat classification, by retaining coarse scale habitat resolution, and increase reliance on design-based inference. This need highlights the disparity between sampling scales of fish, habitat, and the need of resource manager.