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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed several of the commercial posters have alluded to artificail reefs as fish aggregating devices recently, inferring that the addition of artificial habitat does not lead to an increase in the total number of fish.

This is counter intuitive, consider any enviroment favorable to life. If it is expanded, it increases the total potential living mass in the system.

The commercials want the addition of artificial reefs to be thought of as a zero sum game, so my question is, where is their proof?
 

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obtuseangler wrote:
I've noticed several of the commercial posters have alluded to artificail reefs as fish aggregating devices recently, inferring that the addition of artificial habitat does not lead to an increase in the total number of fish.

This is counter intuitive, consider any enviroment favorable to life. If it is expanded, it increases the total potential living mass in the system.

The commercials want the addition of artificial reefs to be thought of as a zero sum game, so my question is, where is their proof?

There have been a number of scientific studies on this. The debate is not settled, but it does appear that there is an argument that reefs just aggregate fish and don't increase their numbers. Don't forget that the ocean is a mighty big place and the reefs are only home to the fish for a fraction of the year. The fish still have to survive when they are not on the reefs.
 

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Obtuse -

Reefs, artificial or otherwise, do increase the total biomass in a given area. What has not been proven is that they increase the biomass of particular commercial/recreational species. What has been proven is that they concentrate and hold particular recreational/commercial species. When artificial reefs are created with limited/restricted commercial access relative to recreational access, regardless of whether they actually "produce" more target species or not, they do serve as a reallocation tool.
 

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NilsS wrote:
When artificial reefs are created with limited/restricted commercial access relative to recreational access, regardless of whether they actually "produce" more target species or not, they do serve as a reallocation tool.

Nils - How do you figure that? If we are fishing under our respective quotas all it would do is affect where commercial and recreational fishermen harvest their quota and not chance the balance....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
jtzannes wrote:
So does habitat destruction only relocate or scatter wildlife and not reduce biomass? The fact that this is even a scientific debate is a little depressing.

and you probably buy into that "theory of evolution" too
. Reason has become an endagered species,
 

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jtzannes wrote:
So does habitat destruction only relocate or scatter wildlife and not reduce biomass? The fact that this is even a scientific debate is a little depressing.

John,
Not real sure what you are saying here. Hanitat destruction of course reduces the biomass, because you have destroyed the habitat that supported it. But habitat restoration, in one small seasonal part of the habitat will not increase the biomass if the rest of the species' habitat can't support more biomass.
 

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RF -

You're sort of right, but not completely.

First off, not all species are managed with a hard TAC/quota (though my gut feeling is that most in the mid-Atlantic are).

If there are a bunch of reefs inshore, you could be reallocating from small commercial boats to big commercial boats, perhaps from "in state" to "out of state" as well. Or from draggers or gill netters to pin hookers or pot fishermen. I think we're all plagued by allocation problems, and they go beyond rec/comm allocation.

And most reefs are clustered around inlets, increasing the running time to get to "profitable," fishable bottom. They're designed to be conveniently located, but with $3+ a gallon diesel and small trip limits, "inconvenient" might soon come to mean "uneconomic." Ditto with the fish possibly being more spread out on open bottom due to others being concentrated by the reefs (I haven't seen anything published on this one).
 

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Nils Your initial post seemed to imply more of a recreational vs. commercial reallocation. The points you are making here definitely have some validity... how much of a reallocation effect it has I am not completely sure of but more than zero for sure.
 

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MakoMike wrote:
jtzannes wrote:
So does habitat destruction only relocate or scatter wildlife and not reduce biomass? The fact that this is even a scientific debate is a little depressing.

John,
Not real sure what you are saying here. Hanitat destruction of course reduces the biomass, because you have destroyed the habitat that supported it. But habitat restoration, in one small seasonal part of the habitat will not increase the biomass if the rest of the species' habitat can't support more biomass.

I agree building one reef will not rebuild a fish population, just like destroying one reef won't eliminate a population. But what I mean is this: it will increase habitat and ecosystem biomass, which should be beneficial to any reef dwelling species. An artificial reef WILL increase biomass of forage invertibrates, and in that way at the very least better feed the fish and hopefully that will lead to healthier fish that are better prepared for spawning, wherever they do it.

The argument that it just concentrates fish and makes them easier to pick off on their migration has an obvious logical (if not immediately practical) solution: Just build enough artifical reef that they're not so concentrated. Wonder what the result of THAT would be. :)

But that's all from me, I have a self-imposed ban from this forum and two posts is a clear violation.

Discuss amongst yourselves
 

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You might take a look at Australia for your answer to artificial reefs.

Do they work?

wrote:
Do Artificial Reefs Work
The desire for fish to be close to a solid object on the seabed has long been recognised by fishers. Fish aggregation devices and artificial reefs as a means of manipulating and exploiting fish stocks have been in use for centuries in various parts of the world.

However, only in recent decades have investigations been mounted to gain a better understanding of how artificial reefs work and what effect they have on fish behaviour.

The majority of recreational fishing activity in South Australia occurs in Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf adjacent to the major population centres.

The seafloors in these regions generally are broad featureless expanses of sand, fringed by seagrass beds. From experience, recreational anglers found that the best fishing and the most desirable fish in gulf waters can usually be found around natural reefs, ledges, shipwrecks or any anomalies on the seabed.

During the early 1970s, it was considered that the placement of artificial reefs adjacent to the metropolitan area and a number of rural communities would improve recreational fishing opportunities and provide economic benefits. The then Department of Fisheries embarked on a program of installing a number of large artificial reefs to achieve this goal.

The reefs were constructed by using tetrahedron shaped tyre modules and redundant government owned barges and dredges which were sunk at various sites in upper Spencer Gulf and adjacent to the Adelaide metropolitan coastline. As a result of this program, South Australia has the largest number of officially endorsed artificial reefs in Australia.

It was hoped that the organised installation of artificial reefs would enhance recreational fishing in two ways. Firstly, they would increase the total habitat available for the production of target species, thereby increasing the total potential catch. Secondly, artificial reefs would provide superior fishing locations by concentrating target species in greater numbers than natural areas.

However, more recent research on the effect of artificial reefs on fish populations brings these motives into question. Whether artificial reefs actually contribute to increasing the population of a particular fish species is arguable. Studies in tropical waters have concluded that increased production, if any, caused by artificial reefs was small when compared with the increased stock availability. In other words, in these situations, the artificial reefs acted primarily as aggregating devices and, therefore, they could potentially have detrimental effects on fish stocks.

Since 1993, PIRSA Fisheries has taken the conservative approach and discouraged the construction of any additional artificial reefs in State waters. There is enough available evidence to suggest that the construction of any new reefs would increase the potential for species such as snapper and King George whiting to be taken without actually enhancing stocks of these species.

The concept for constructing artificial reefs as a means of enhancing recreational fisheries is now considered questionable by fisheries managers if we are to maintain fish stocks at sustainable levels.
Further research is needed into the effects of artificial reefs on the availability of fish and the ecology and productivity of the marine ecosystem in South Australian waters before any future reef building projects should be considered.

Or you can look at what has been found in Hawaii ARTIFICIAL REEFS: NOTHING MORE THAN BENTHIC FISH AGGREGATORS

This post edited by guest 05:09 PM 01/18/2008
 

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ok, last one i swear. just because han attempt as failed doesn't mean the concept is flawed. The only thing failed artificail reef building programs have proved is that whatever efforts were made didn't work as planned, not that it can't be done. I don't see anyone questioning the role of wrecks in the ecosystem, yet "wreck fishing" and the role of shipwrecks in general is considered a vital part of the resource today. I'm not trying to come down on one side or another on any level other than the logical one. Chop down a forrest and the animals disappear. Plant a forrest and they reappear. Maybe not in the same capacity that they did in the wild. Man's destructive capabilities on natural ecosystems are undeniable, I find it disheartening to say the least to call into question our reconstructive abilities. Have we figured it out yet? Maybe not... but that doesn't mean that it's a lost cause, and the only way to make progress is by experimentation. Let me ask you, what is the alternative? OK, for real - I'm done, I hate this board and I mean it, as far as I can tell there's a lot more can't-do than can-do attitude. god forbid someone posts a hypothetical thought experiment or new idea lest he be burned at the stake. It's no wonder fisheries are f'd around the globe, anytime someone tries to use logic they get beat over the head with the science stick, and then hit up for cash six months later to fight the scientific findings of someone else. Eh, such is life, I'm going seabassing. No disrespect intended at Nils or anyone else, far from it, I applaud your efforts because I belive that many posters here are doing what they believe is "right" - I just get depressed when I click on the posts and invariably regret having read them.

This post edited by jtzannes 08:13 PM 01/18/2008
 

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Just like in real estate, for fish there's three rules:

Forrage base
Forrage base
Forrage base

A hunting/hungry fish has little interest in procreating....free room or not.

My opinion, based on ZERO scientific studies. :)
 

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Aggregate..............................Gimme a break!

reelfisher wrote:
Nils Your initial post seemed to imply more of a recreational vs. commercial reallocation. The points you are making here definitely have some validity... how much of a reallocation effect it has I am not completely sure of but more than zero for sure.

Reelfisher hit it on the head when he wrote that your statement was more of a recreational vs. commercial allocation.

BUT, let's address this "aggregate" stealing fish or reallocating them, and or from the possibility of being caught by commercial fishermen.

NilS wrote:
If there are a bunch of reefs inshore, you could be reallocating from small commercial boats to big commercial boats, perhaps from "in state" to "out of state" as well. Or from draggers or gill netters to pin hookers or pot fishermen. I think we're all plagued by allocation problems, and they go beyond rec/comm allocation.

The fact is that fish breed in reefs. The reefs offer protection against predators. That doesn't sound like an "aggregate" to me. In reality fish will swim all over the ocean. What makes you think that they call there friends to live at the reef where the living is easy.

THE LAWS OF NATURE PREVENT REEFS FROM ACTING AS AN "AGGREGATE" SUCKING IN ALL THE FISH IN THE SURROUNDING AREA. A PIECE OF STRUCTURE CAN ONLY SUPPORT SO MANY FISH. THAT'S A FACT, AND THE ONLY ONE YOU NEED TO PROVE THAT A REEF IS NOT AN AGGREGATE OTHERWISE, DISEASE AND PREDATION WILL ADJUST THE NUMBERS.

NilS wrote:
And most reefs are clustered around inlets, increasing the running time to get to "profitable," fishable bottom. They're designed to be conveniently located, but with $3+ a gallon diesel and small trip limits, "inconvenient" might soon come to mean "uneconomic." Ditto with the fish possibly being more spread out on open bottom due to others being concentrated by the reefs (I haven't seen anything published on this one).

You seem to want the reefs to be open to commercial fishing because it would increase profits. Commercial interest doesn't pay for reefs in New York, Therefore, they are not entitled to fish them and I would never want to co-mingle comm and rec money for a reef. Too problematic and too much finger pointing. Too much complaining (from both sides) we aren't getting our fair share.

In New Jersey, comms contributed a one time 200K investment and expect to fish all reefs for such a tiny investment. That's just greedy.

Sorry, but this is what you are saying and it's not accurate.

LooneyTunes
Dave

This post edited by LooneyTunes 11:54 PM 01/18/2008
 

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Dave -

Reefs attract and permanently hold some "resident" fish. They also attract and temporarily hold "non-resident" fish. And as a couple of posts (not mine) have indicated, the scientific jury is still out on whether they make more fish or not.
 

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LooneyTunes wrote:
The fact is that fish breed in reefs.

You better go check your facts! Last time I looked none of the fish we routinely target on the reefs bred on those reefs.
 

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I have to find the video

MakoMike wrote:
LooneyTunes wrote:
The fact is that fish breed in reefs.

You better go check your facts! Last time I looked none of the fish we routinely target on the reefs bred on those reefs.

I routinely target black fish on the reef.

I saw a divers video done on the Vickie wreck at Moriches Reef. The underwater video showed blackfish getting ready to spawn. The black fish like other rasps have a ritual for mating and the videographer captured it on video.

If I show the video will that server as proof that the reefs actually
supports fish breeding.?

LooneyTunes
Dave
 
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