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Open Access Using ecological evidence to refine approaches to deploying offshore artificial reefs for recreational fisheries

Artificial reefs have many applications but are best known for their deployments to enhance recreational fisheries by creating new habitat in areas where natural reef is otherwise limited. The expectation is that fish assemblages will take up residence on artificial reefs and that these assemblages will become at least similar, if not more diverse and abundant, to those on natural reefs. Although designed, purpose-built artificial reefs are becoming more widely used in support of recreational fisheries and many of the historic issues have been resolved, conservation practitioners and managers still face challenges as to the type, number, and arrangement of structures and where to deploy them to maximize benefits and minimize risks. The ecological literature was reviewed to develop and enhance contemporary principles of artificial reef best practices for utilization. Our review identified optimal shapes, vertical relief, void spaces, and unit arrangements for increasing volumes and diversity of catch to recreational fishers and we provide a tool for identifying the least constrained areas for artificial reef deployment. We suggest; (a) monitoring of noncatch motivators in combination with quantitative indicators of the fishing activity (e.g., catch rate and effort) will provide the best understanding of success or failure of an artificial reef deployment; (b) choosing target species for informing purpose-built artificial reef designs to be reef-associated, demersal, philopatric, territorial, and obligatory reef species that are desired by local recreational fishers; and (c) considering the ecosystem services provided by artificial reefs beyond those associated with recreational fishing.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd., PO Box 19, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia, 1590;, Email: [email protected] 2: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7001 3: Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd., PO Box 19, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia, 1590 4: Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia, 4229 5: Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia, 2315 6: Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Northern Territory Government, Berrimah Business Park, 33 Vaughan Street, Darwin, NT, Australia, 0801

Publication date: October 1, 2021

This article was made available online on October 26, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Using ecological evidence to refine approaches to deploying offshore artificial reefs for recreational fisheries".

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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