Authors: John Reed, Stephanie Farrington

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to document the occurrence and distribution of golden crab, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, and royal red shrimp in deep-water habitats (200 m to 900 m) off eastern and southern Florida, within the jurisdiction of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Videotapes were selected from extensive surveys by the Principal Investigator (P.I.) and colleagues of the deep-water coral ecosystems using Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s (HBOI) Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) and Clelia submersibles. In addition, the P.I. has conducted several deep-water benthic environmental surveys using the JSL submersible and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) that were also encorporated into this project: the proposed Seafarer liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline (Reed, 2006 a), Calypso LNG pipeline (Messing et al., 2006 b), Calypso deep-water LNG port (Messing et al., 2006 a), and the CFX telecommunications cable (Reed et al. 2008). A total of 94 submersible and ROV dives were used for this project, covering a total distance of 203 nmi (376 km). A total of 386 hours of videotapes were reviewed and annotated (Appendix 1). The dives were categorized by type of survey: 1) submersible dives to survey deep-water reef ecosystems, and 2) environmental impact surveys for proposed deep-water LNG pipelines, port and telecommunication cable. The submersible reef ecosystem surveys ranged over four regions: 1) deep-water Lophelia/Enallopsammia coral mounds extending from North Florida to Miami at depths of 400 to 800 m (Figs. 7, 8, 9); 2) Miami Terrace- rock pavement, escarpments, and ledges, at depths of 300-600 m (Figs. 10-12); 3) Pourtalès Terrace- high relief bioherm mounds and massive deep-water sinkholes at depths of 200-450 m (Fig. 13); and 4) Tortugas and Agassiz Valleys, at depths of 300 to 940 m (Reed 2004, Reed et al., 2005 b, 2006). Of the reef ecosystems surveyed, 59% were the Lophelia/Enallopsammia coral mounds, and 41% were on rock/coral habitat on the Miami Terrace and Pourtalès Terrace.

This is a deliverable of DSCRTP's project FY09-01.

  • Technical Report
Type: DSCRTP Supported Date: 2010
  • South Atlantic Council
  •  None Defined.