January 20th, 2022 10:30 – 11:00 AM EST: A decade of counting fish in the Gulf of Mexico: lessons learned and future plans
Jennifer Wetz, M.S., Fisheries Program Manager, Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, Harte Research Institute, Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi
With almost a decade of experience monitoring fish communities in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM), we have surveyed multiple habitat types and evaluated various technologies to best capture fish community diversity and abundance of fisheries species. Habitat types surveyed include artificial reefs (e.g., oil and gas infrastructure, concrete structures, ships, etc.) and natural banks. Two types of micro Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), the VideoRay Pro 4 and the VideoRay Mission Specialist Defender, have been successfully used to visually document fish. Habitat type and project goals had a direct influence on ROV choice, survey methodology, and additional technologies chosen. Upcoming projects will further refine ROV methods for fish survey work in the GOM and allow comparisons with other fisheries survey technology.