Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Seasonal and diel effects on acoustic fish biomass estimates: application to a shallow reservoir with untargeted common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Imed Djemali A D , Jean Guillard B and Daniel L. Yule C

A Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, 28 rue du 2 Mars 1934 Centre de Salammbô, 2025, Tunis, Tunisie.

B UMR CARRTEL, INRA, University Savoie Mont Blanc, BP 511, F-74203 Thonon les Bains, France.

C US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Superior Biological Station, 2800 Lakeshore Drive, Ashland, WI 54806, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: imed.djemali@instm.rnrt.tn

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15249
Submitted: 30 June 2015  Accepted: 8 March 2016   Published online: 27 May 2016

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to understand how seasonal fish distributions affect acoustically derived fish biomass estimates in a shallow reservoir in a semi-arid country (Tunisia). To that end, sampling events were performed during four seasons (spring (June), summer (September), autumn (December) and winter (March)) that included day and night surveys. A Simrad EK60 echosounder, equipped with two 120-kHz split-beam transducers for simultaneous horizontal and vertical beaming, was used to sample the entire water column. Surveys during spring and summer and daytime hours of winter were deemed unusable owing to high methane flux from the sediment, and during the day survey of autumn, fish were close to the reservoir bottom leading to low detectability. It follows that acoustic surveys should be conducted only at night during the cold season (December–March) for shallow reservoirs having carp Cyprinus carpio (L.) as the dominant species. Further, night-time biomass estimates during the cold season declined significantly (P < 0.001) from autumn to winter. Based on our autumn night-time survey, overall fish biomass in the Bir-Mcherga Reservoir was high (mean (± s.d.) 185 ± 98 tonnes (Mg)), but annual fishery exploitation is low (19.3–24.1 Mg) because the fish biomass is likely dominated by invasive carp not targeted by fishers. The results suggest that controlling carp would help improve the fishery.

Additional keywords: bubbles, fishing, man-made lake, semi-arid area, underexploited.


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