Artificial marine habitats favour a single fish species on a long-term scale: the dominance of Boops boops around off-shore fish cages
Rodrigo Riera, Pablo Sanchez-Jerez, Myriam Rodriguez, Oscar Monterroso

Off-shore fish cages are new artificial habitats that can affect pelagic fish assemblages and constitute an important food source for wild fish assemblages. This aggregation has noticeable ecological consequences in cage areas in impoverished ecosystems such as those in the Canary archipelago (NE Atlantic Ocean). However, this new habitat could be dominated by a single species, reducing its positive ecological effects. Wild fish assemblages associated with an off-shore fish lease on the northeastern coast of Tenerife (Canary Islands) were sampled for six years. Fish assemblage structure beneath fish cages and at controls (>500 m from cages) differed significantly between locations, with 13 times greater abundance at cage locations. These differences were mainly explained by the dominance of bogue (Boops boops) around fish cages. This trend was consistent in the long-term throughout the study period (2004-2009), affecting local fisheries. The presence of fish cages significantly altered wild fish assemblages in the study area, enhancing mainly biomass and abundance of one species, bogue, and causing shifts in species composition.

Keywords: off-shore; aquaculture; fisheries; fish; bogue; Canary Islands; Atlantic Ocean
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 78(4) : 505-510 Back PDF
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