Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 16, Number 3, July 2003Acoustics in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology. Part 2
|Page(s)||145 - 157|
|Published online||15 July 2003|
Effect of external factors (environment and survey vessel) on fish school characteristics observed by echosounder and multibeam sonar in the Mediterranean Sea
IRD, BP 172, 97492, Sainte-Clotilde cedex, France
2 FAO-MedSudMed, via Luigi Vaccara, 61, 91026, Mazara del Vallo (TP), Italy
3 IRD, Instituto de Fomento Pesquero (IFOP), Huito 374, Casilla 8-V, Valparaiso, 5a Region, Chile
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 5 February 2003
The size of pelagic fish schools depends on several parameters related to internal factors such as species, number of fish, fish swimming speed and physiological status and to external factors, such as hydrological factors and presence of predators. In order to better understand these relations, results coming from echosounder and multibeam sonar databases are analysed. Field data are collected during four acoustic surveys in the Mediterranean Sea in two different areas (Catalan and Adriatic Seas). The analysis shows differences between the two areas regarding size and position in the water column: schools are deeper and their mean size is lower in the Catalan Sea in comparison with Adriatic Sea. The differences in size of schools are mainly related to differences in school length. Moreover, the elongation of schools seen with the sonar is greater than one and half higher in the Adriatic Sea than in the Catalan Sea, whereas one would expect similar values for the two areas. The results are discussed in terms of environmental influence, avoidance reaction and acoustic capabilities of both tools. A hypothesis is proposed: the variation of school length and consecutively the variation of the correlated dimensions is first related to the strength of the avoidance reaction in front of the vessel and this effect can be reinforced depending on the environmental conditions. The model takes into account the effect of the boat, the vertical constraints undergone by the schools, and the internal requirements of the schools, such as the necessity for fish to keep visual contacts and the cohesion of the group.
Key words: Acoustic / Multibeam sonar / Echosounder / Fish school behaviour / Avoidance / Environment
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, 2003
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