Project Title: Small Project: Exploration of benthic habitats in Puerto Rico using underwater cameras deployed by deep-water snapper fishermen
Project Summary

Lead: Andy David

This project will work collaboratively with Puerto Rican deep snapper fishery to deploy low- cost, simple underwater video cameras along with deep-water line-fishing gear to explore bottom habitats associated with these deep-water fisheries. The goal of the project is to use a simple, low-cost method to glean some introductory information about important deep-water habitats to help focus more in-depth habitat characterization research in the future.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

There is a lucrative, thriving deep-water snapper and grouper fishery in the region that depends on productive deep- water habitats. The Caribbean Fisheries Management Council (CFMC) has expressed that one of their priorities is to better understand the habitats underlying the deep-water snapper and grouper fishing grounds.

Location(s):
  • Puerto Rico
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NMFS SEFSC
Project Title: Small Project: Exploration of benthic habitats in Puerto Rico using underwater cameras deployed by deep-water snapper fishermen
Methods/Approach

We will partner with the University of Miami, RSMAS to conduct this project. Steve Smith is a Saltonstall-Kennedy Grantee working on a project to design a fishery-independent sampling program for the deep-water fisheries of Puerto Rico. We will partner with this project by providing low-cost, simple video cameras to deploy with fishing gear during the experimental phase of the Saltonstall-Kennedy project (Jan-Feb 2017) when the PIs and their contractors are observing fishing operations to define a standard fishing sample. Experimental fishing is slated to occur for eight days (~4 sites per day) in the waters east, north and west of Puerto Rico where the fishery traditionally operates. The hope is that camera deployments will provide a view of the habitats being targeted by this fishery.

This project bears uncertainty, however, because we are still (1) exploring appropriate camera housings and connection methods to drop with the fishing gear, and (2) uncertain if there will be enough ambient light at depth to see the underlying habitat. From similar projects we anticipate that we may have visibility in the 150-300 m range, especially during mid-day. However, the potential benefits of the project outweigh the risks. By partnering with the Saltonstall-Kennedy project, we drastically reduce the cost of conducting this small project and increase the probability of success in multiple habitats. Furthermore, any habitat data we may assimilate from this project will be of high use for prioritizing future mapping and characterization work in the region. Finally, if the project is successful, it could easily be expanded or replicated in future years to obtain additional information. 

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined
Project Title: Small Project: Exploration of benthic habitats in Puerto Rico using underwater cameras deployed by deep-water snapper fishermen
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
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