, Volume 471, Issue 1-3, pp 91-99

Distribution and abundance of fish in deep-sea coral habitats

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Abstract

Experimental fishing with long-lines and gillnets was conducted on the continental shelf off southwestern Norway between 150 and 350 m depth. Abundance and distribution of redfish (Sebastes marinus L., 1758), ling (Molva molva L., 1758), and tusk (Brosme brosme Ascanius, 1772) were quantified in Lophelia pertusa (L., 1758) coral reefs and in non-coral habitats. The largest catches of redfish were made with long-line fleets set in coral reef habitats. Ling and tusk were also most numerous in coral habitats, although not statistically significant. Fish caught in coral habitats tended to be larger in size than in non-coral habitats. The diet of redfish, tusk and ling included the same prey groups in all habitats, but they differed at the species level. Lophelia-reefs may provide a profitable feeding place for tusk. For the planktivorous Sebastes, on the other hand, their affinity to the reefs seems primarily to be related to the physical structure offered by the reefs.