Journal Article

Habitat suitability modelling of economically important fish species with commercial fisheries data

Liz Morris and David Ball

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 9, pages 1590-1603
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2006.06.008
Habitat suitability modelling of economically important fish species with commercial fisheries data

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In this study we used catch and effort data from a commercial fishery to generate habitat suitability models for Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Species modelled were King George whiting (Sillaginodes punctata), greenback flounder (Rhombosolea tapirina), Australian salmon (Arripis trutta and A. truttaceus), and snapper (Pagrus auratus). Locations of commercial catches were reported through a grid system of fishing blocks. Spatial analyses in a Geographic Information System (GIS) were applied to describe each fishing block by its habitat area. A multivariate approach was adopted to group each fishing block by its dominant habitats. Standardized catch per unit effort values were overlaid on these groups to identify those that returned high or low catches for each species. A simple set of rules was then devised to predict the habitat suitability for each habitat combination in a fishing block. The spatial distribution of these habitats was presented in a GIS. These habitat suitability models were consistent with existing anecdotal information and expert opinion. While the models require testing, we have shown that in the absence of adequate fishery-independent data, commercial catch and effort data can be used to produce habitat suitability models at a bay-wide scale.

Keywords: catch and effort; fisheries habitat; Geographic Information Systems; multivariate analysis; Port Phillip Bay

Journal Article.  8177 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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