Effects of sampling intensity and biomass levels on the precision of acoustic surveys in the Mediterranean Sea

Type Article
Date 2021
Language English
Author(s) Barra Marco1, Bonanno Angelo2, Hattab Tarek3, Saraux Claire3, 4, Iglesias Magdalena5, Leonori Iole6, Ticina Vjekoslav7, Basilone Gualtiero2, de Felice Andrea6, Ferreri Rosalia2, Machias Athanassios8, Ventero Ana5, Costantini Ilaria6, Juretic Tea7, Pyrounaki Maria Myrto9, Bourdeix Jean-Herve3, Gasparevic Denis7, Kapelonis Zacharias9, Canduci Giovanni6, Giannoulaki Marianna9
Affiliation(s) 1 : National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Marine Sciences, SS Naples, Italy
2 : National Research Council (CNR), Institute for the study of the anthropic impacts and sustainability in the marine environment, SS Capo Granitola, Campobello di Mazara, TP, Italy
3 : MARBEC, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Avenue Jean Monnet, Sète, France
4 : IPHC, DEPE, CNRS-Université de Strasbourg, UMR7178, 23 rue du Loess, 67037 Strasbourg, France.
5 : Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Muelle de Poniente s/n, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
6 : National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnologies, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 1 60125 Ancona, Italy
7 : Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries-Split Set. Ivana Meštrovica, 63, 21000 Split, Croatia
8 : Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, P.O. Box 712, 19013, Anavyssos, Attiki, Greece
9 : Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) , Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Thalassocosmos Gournes, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Source Mediterranean Marine Science (1108-393X) (Natl Centre Marine Research), 2021 , Vol. 22 , N. 4 , P. 769-783
DOI 10.12681/mms.26100
WOS© Times Cited 2
Note Contribution to the Special Issue: “MEDiterranean International Acoustic Survey (MEDIAS)”
Keyword(s) Acoustic survey, spatial sampling efficiency, density-dependent effects, Mediterranean Sea

Acoustic surveys represent the standard fishery-independent method worldwide for evaluating the biomass and spatial distribution of small pelagic fish populations. Considering the peculiarities of the spatial behaviour of pelagic fishes, the efficiency of the survey design in determining their biomass and spatial distribution is related to the ability to capture the portion of the patches accounting for a larger part of the total biomass. However, the spatial structure of the patches could be strongly influenced by ecosystem characteristics as well as by changes in total biomass related to a density-dependent mechanism. This is of particular interest for anchovies and sardines, which are known for their wide fluctuations and high sensitivity to the environment. In this study, we analysed the efficiency of acoustic surveys targeting European anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) and European sardines (Sardina pilchardus) in 10 different areas of the Mediterranean Sea spanning three years of different biomass levels. Using the geostatistical coefficient of variation (CVgeo) of the average occurrence probability of high/medium density values, we showed different patterns in terms of survey design efficiency among areas and species. Anchovies usually showed a lower CVgeo than sardines in the Alboran Sea. In 4 out of 20 cases, CVgeo values showed a consistent decrease with increasing biomass, while in the remaining cases, the CVgeo did not follow any clear pattern, suggesting the presence of important environmental effects. Higher survey design efficiency was found in highly productive sectors influenced by river run-off, allowing us to hypothesize that higher productivity along with the presence of well-localized enrichment mechanisms could favour a spatially consistent distribution and coherent organization of fish populations, leading to higher precision estimates with a given transect design. While most surveys displayed CVgeo close to 10% or less even at low biomass, indicating generally good performances of the survey design, a few areas exhibited higher CVgeo, yielding a potential need to decrease the intertransect distance, always keeping in mind that any survey should be as synoptic as possible.

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Barra Marco, Bonanno Angelo, Hattab Tarek, Saraux Claire, Iglesias Magdalena, Leonori Iole, Ticina Vjekoslav, Basilone Gualtiero, de Felice Andrea, Ferreri Rosalia, Machias Athanassios, Ventero Ana, Costantini Ilaria, Juretic Tea, Pyrounaki Maria Myrto, Bourdeix Jean-Herve, Gasparevic Denis, Kapelonis Zacharias, Canduci Giovanni, Giannoulaki Marianna (2021). Effects of sampling intensity and biomass levels on the precision of acoustic surveys in the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science, 22(4), 769-783. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.12681/mms.26100 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00748/85994/