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

Investigating ecosystem processes using targeted fisheries closures: can small-bodied invertivore fish be used as indicators for the effects of western rock lobster fishing?

T. J. Langlois A B C G , L. M. Bellchambers A C , R. Fisher A D , G. R. Shiell E F , J. Goetze A B E , L. Fullwood B E , S. N. Evans C , N. Konzewitsch C , E. S. Harvey E and M. B. Pember C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A UWA Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

B School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

C Marine Ecology and Monitoring Section, Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of Fisheries WA, PO Box 20, North Beach, WA 6920, Australia.

D Australian Institute of Marine Science, UWA Oceans Institute, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

E Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia.

F BMT Oceanica, PO Box 462, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: timothy.langlois@uwa.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(7) 1251-1259 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16022
Submitted: 7 October 2014  Accepted: 27 September 2016   Published: 30 November 2016

Abstract

Ecosystem modelling has predicted that fishing for western rock lobster Panulirus cygnus in deep water (50–80 m) habitats will result in increased abundance of their macroinvertebrate prey, which would, in turn, support greater production of small-bodied invertivore fish species. To investigate the potential ecosystem effects of rock lobster fishing, a targeted fisheries closure was proposed in deep water habitats along the coast of Western Australia. Data on small-bodied invertivore fish abundance, from baited video, were used to investigate differences across habitats and simulate the likely power of any study to detect change. In general, small-bodied invertivore fish were more abundant at shallower macroalgae-dominated sites, whereas the most abundant single species, the western king wrasse Coris auricularis, was abundant across all habitats and sites. Power simulation of a mixed-model before–after–control–impact (BACI) design found that a 40–50% decrease in either Coris auricularis or small-bodied invertivore fish in general would be very likely to be detected (power ~0.8). Based on the power simulation, we suggest a general sampling design to investigate change before and after the establishment of the fishery closure and make suggestions for further ecological studies to investigate the predicted ecosystem effects of rock lobster fishing.

Additional keywords: baited video, cost-effective monitoring, closed areas, effects of fishing, indicator species.


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