A study was conducted to investigate the sequence of interactions beween the fish populations on a new artificial reef and those on nearby natural reefs in Monterey Bay. Underwater transects revealed that the species composition of fishes on the artificial and natural reefs was similar
after one year. Colonization on the artificial reef consisted of adult and subadult rockfishes, surfperches, greenlings, and cabezon. Monitoring studies demonstrated that a greater amount of sportfishing occurred on the marked and easily accessible artificial reef, mostly by skiff fishermen.
A fish tagging study revealed that substantial movement of fishes occurred, in some cases up to 1.6 km, from the natural reefs onto the artificial, but no movement was observed from the artificial reef to the natural reefs. Early colonization by adult and subadult fishes, subsequent substantiated
movement from the natural reefs onto the artificial reefs, and large amounts of fishing pressure suggest that artificial reefs could have detrimental effects on natural reef fish populations. Although it is imposible to know what proportion of colonizers came from nearby natural reefs, the
location of the natural reefs may be an important consideration when planning the placement of future artificial reefs.
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