Towards an Autonomous Pelagic Observatory: Experiences from Monitoring Fish Communities around Drifting FADs
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionThalassas. 2019, 35 (1), 177-189. 10.1007/s41208-018-0107-9
This work presents a methodological synthesis for the in situ monitoring of fish aggregating devices (FADs) using a combination of optical, echosounder and SCUBA observations conducted in the vicinity of drifting FADs. The acoustic methods allowed, according to the devices used, the description of the spatial organisation and dynamics of biotic scattering layers, individual fishes, schools, shoals and mammals, while visual, photographic and video observations permitted species identification within a range of 0 to ~ 25 m. Based on these results, we elaborate on the interest to combine acoustic and visual methods, and present an autonomous instrumented drifting buoy for remotely monitoring fish diversity and abundance in the pelagic ecosystems. The perspective of autonomously collecting large amounts of basic information useful for ecological and fisheries studies in an ecosystem approach for open sea, as well as coastal pelagic environment, is also emphasized. As perspective we present “Seaorbiter” a futuristic large drifting platform which will allow performing innovative ecosystemic studies taking into account simultaneously all macro components of the pelagic ecosystem.