Free Content Fish Habitat Provided by Obsolete Petroleum Platforms off Southern Florida

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Initial sampling of fish diversity and abundance on petroleum production platforms redeployed specifically as artificial reefs revealed 47 species on two submerged deck and jacket structures. The Tenneco II reefs were surveyed by diver census and video transects on 4–7 August 1986, 10 months after relocation from the northern Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, 1.75 km off Miami-Ft. Lauderdale in > 30 m of water. The most speciose families were Labridae, Pomacanthidae and Pomacentridae (five specics each), Haemulidae and Carangidae (four). The last accounted for 53% of all observations (i.e., Caranx ruber, Seriola dumerili) of identifiable fishes in quantitative transects. Next most common were snappers (Lutjanus griseus and L. buccanella) (24% of observations); Acanthuridae (13%); and Sphyraena barracuda (7%). A resident live-bottom ichthyofauna on the top deck of the platforms (18 m deep) was numerically dominated by two species (ca. 80% of observations), Thalassoma bifasciatum and Stegastes partitus. Significant depth and time interaction in fish distribution was evidenced by 34% of all fishes occurring in just 10% of the transects (midday at 24 m). Possible modification to enhance platform fisheries includes addition of shelter to decks and open interior areas.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1989

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