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Using video survey to examine the effect of habitat on gag grouper encounter

September 30, 2020

Gag is a reef fish that was declared overfished in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) in 2009. Although Gag are no longer listed as overfished, fisheries managers are concerned that stocks may not be recovering. Our objective was to identify habitat characteristics important to Gag, and their effect on the probability of Gag occurrence. We obtained data from three separate fisheries-independent video surveys that sampled in the eastern GOM from 2010-2017: the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) Panama City, FL Office, the NOAA Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. We ran a separate mixed effects logistic regression for each survey, and used Akaike’s Information Criteria to determine the best fitting models. Some variables - percent rock coverage, vertical relief, latitude, and depth - were present in all confidence models. Depth did not have the same relationship with Gag across all surveys, suggesting that shallower habitats (<50 m) might be more suitable for juveniles, whereas deeper habitats (>50 m) might be more suitable for adults. Managers may be able to help Gag and encourage their recovery by using these data to establish or expand protected areas throughout shallower waters.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Using video survey to examine the effect of habitat on gag grouper encounter
Authors G. Alvarez, D. Gandy, Brian J. Irwin, Cecil A. Jennings, Adam Fox
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70228928
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta

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